Kurdish man extradited to Turkey despite UN recommendation

Serbia extradited Turkish citizen of Kurdish origin Cevdet Ayaz to Turkey on Monday night.

Source: Beta, Insajder
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(Thinkstock)
(Thinkstock)

This happened despite "the decision" of the UN Committee Against Torture (UNCAT) that Serbia should refrain from doing so, the Belgrade-based website Insajder reported on Tuesday, according to Beta.

Ayaz has been sentenced to 15 years in prison in Turkey for undermining the country's constitutional order.

Serbian Justice Minister Nela Kuburovic has signed the consent to the extradition of Turkish Kurd Cevdet Ayaz to Turkey pursuant to a final decision by a court that found that all conditions for his extradition had been met, as well as pursuant to a final decision by the Interior Ministry's Commission on Asylum to reject his asylum request, Tanjug was told by the Ministry of Justice late on Tuesday.

The minister reiterated that the recommendation by the UN Committee against Torture had arrived after the decision on his extradition had been made and voiced her conviction that Serbia would not suffer any consequences.

"Serbia has done everything that is in accordance with legal possibilities, checked whether there were conditions for the extradition whether there were any obstacles to implementing the decision... the Ministry [of Justice] does not have knowledge of what happens further to a person, that is under the jurisdiction of Interpol," the justice minister said, adding that the procedure had been carried out based on a bilateral contract with Turkey.

Answering journalists' questions, she denied that the decision was political, Beta reported.

The Justice Ministry said it had fully complied with a UNHCR recommendation that Serbia abstain from extraditing Ayaz pending resolution of his asylum application.

Ayaz's lawyer in Serbia Ana Trkulja told Insajder earlier on Tuesday that her client's brother was this morning asked to come to an Istanbul police station where Ayaz was being held.

The website said the extradition came after the decision signed by the justice Minister "despite the decision of the UN Committee Against Torture that Serbia should refrain from it because there was a risk that (Ayaz) could be subjected to torture in his home country."

In response to a question about the case posed by a lawyer, Chairman of the UN Committee Jens Modvig posted the following on Twitter last night: "Apparently, Serbia is in the process of extraditing Mr. Ayaz to Turkey in spite of CATs issuance of interim measures. Serbia, please be aware of your UNCAT obligations."

According to the Insajder report, the Serbian Justice Ministry "announced that the decision of the UN Committee arrived too late, after the minister had already signed the extradition decision."

In its reply to the website's queries, the Ministry of Justice stated that the minister signed the decision on December 15, while the Committee's letter arrived on December 18.

However, lawyer Ana Trkulja told Insajder that she "personally handed over the decision of the Committee against Torture to the court at the session of the panel on December 14."

The Ministry of Justice also said that the minister decided to extradite the Turkish citizen based on the court's decision, but also because his asylum application was rejected.

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