Spain releases Swedish-Turkish writer wanted by Turkey

A Spanish judge has granted the provisional release without bail of a Swedish-Turkish journalist who has been detained in Barcelona since August following a controversial international arrest warrant requested by Turkey.

Spain releases Swedish-Turkish writer wanted by Turkey
Protestors in Istanbul demanding the writer's release. Photo: Ozan Kose/AFP

Hamza Yalcin was held by Spain on Turkey’s orders after being arrested on August 3rd at Barcelona's El Prat airport, based on allegations of insulting Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and “supporting terror groups”.

Human rights campaigners insist the detention was designed to silence political dissent in a crackdown under the state of emergency imposed in Turkey after last year's coup attempt. Yalcin writes for a left-wing online magazine critical of the government in Ankara.

Earlier this month nine Swedish members of European Parliament wrote to Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy demanding the writer’s release “The only crime Mr Yalcin is guilty of is criticizing Mr Erdogan,” they wrote.

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On Thursday, judge Ismael Moreno decided to release the journalist from custody after the Catalan branch of PEN International in collaboration with Barcelona City Council guaranteed to the court that they would house him in Spain while the extradition claim is being assessed.

Yalcin will be required to appear in front of the judge once a week and will not have access to his passport while the process is ongoing however.