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Sweden refuses Turkish extradition request

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07:14 CET+01:00
Sweden's highest court on Wednesday rejected a request from Turkey to have one of its citizens extradited to face accusations of committing murder while a member of the separatist Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK).

"There are obstacles to the extradition of Cemil Kadir Aygan," the court said in its ruling.

Aygan, a 51-year-old Turkish citizen, lives in Sweden but is known in Turkey under the name Aziz Turan.

Turkey requested his extradition in August 2008, claiming he was "suspected of a crime against the State's unity for having killed author Musa Anter and injured Orhan Miroglu with a firearm on September 20, 1992, within the framework of the terrorist organization PKK's activities," the court said.

Turkey's accusations stem from a book and a newspaper article based on interviews with Aygan in which he allegedly admitted to having taken part in the crimes.

But Aygan has proclaimed his innocence, and told the court that while he had discussed publicly and at length his knowledge of the murder he was not personally involved in it.

Aygan told the court that Turkey had ordered his extradition because it wanted to silence him, and said he believed he would be killed if he were extradited.

Aygan claimed that Anter's murder was carried out by Jitem, a long-secret Turkish military intelligence unit combatting the PKK, which is considered a terrorist organization by the European Union and United States.

Aygan told the court that he was a member of the PKK from 1975 to 1985 and then switched sides to work for Jitem from 1990 to 2001 before quitting.

"According to his understanding, the murder of Musa Anter was perpetrated under Jitem's direction," the court said, summing up Aygan's arguments.

A Turkish court ordered Aygan remanded in custody in absentia in January 2008, and Ankara used the arguments for that order as the basis of its extradition request.

The Swedish court said "the proof given (by Turkey) as a basis for the custody order does not support the accusations" against Aygan.

Aygan was detained in Sweden for two days in January 2009 following Turkey's request, then released with a travel ban.

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