Provisional release for Hamza Yalçin
Madrid, September 28, 2017. - The Court of Instruction No. 2 of the Spanish Audiencia Nacional has issued the provisional release of the Swedish journalist of Turkish origin Hamza Yalçin, until the request for extradition issued by Turkey through Interpol is resolved, reports the law firm of Baltasar Garzón, which is defending him pro bono.The journalist must make a weekly appearance in the courthouse, his passport has been withdrawn and he will have to provide his phone number to be located.
Hamza Yalçin has been in prison since his arrest on 3 August at the El Prat airport in Barcelona. On August 24, the Audiencia Nacional denied him provisional release for risk of escape. However, now the prosecutor has valued that the writer has a domicile in Spain where he can await the final decision on his extradition. The fact that Sweden had granted him asylum in the 1990s has been another relevant factor.
Over Yalçin still dangles the decision whether or not he will be granted the extradition requested by the Government of Erdogan. Last Friday's Council of Ministers left on the table the extradition request made by Turkey. The journalist's defence had asked the executive authority to directly deny this request, since Yalçin is a Swedish national and in its day, was granted asylum in Sweden.
In his application for provisional liberty, his lawyers emphasized "the patent absence of the requirement of double criminality, his status as a refugee or asylee, and the existence of a certain risk that Mr. Yalçin if extradited could be subjected to torture, to a process lacking the minimum guarantees of the right of defence and to an inhuman or degrading treatment".
They also pointed out that "the facts from which the Turkish authorities affirm Mr. Yalçin’s ´belonging to a terrorist or criminal group´ are all imprecise and lack factual support, when no incur in contradictions, the only truth being that Mr. Yalçin, while his profession is that of journalist, writes articles in order to develop his duty to inform truthfully and with freedom of opinion”.
"The international arrest warrant issued by the Turkish authorities is merely a manifestation of a situation of political persecution of journalists opposed to the current Turkish regime, including our defended and represented," said the lawyers, adding that the facts by which the authorities Turkish request extradition are strictly political in nature and violate his freedom of expression.
Now the court, following the request of the defence, has agreed to provisional release.
The International Baltasar Garzón Foundation (FIBGAR) represents Yalçin through the ILOCAD law firm on the grounds that the arrest of the 59-year-old journalist and writer residing in Sweden has violated his rights for political reasons.