Croatian Court Delays Controversial Extradition of a Kurd to Turkey

Total Croatia News

ZAGREB, January 26, 2018 – The Croatian Constitutional Court on Thursday delayed, due to the complexity of the case, the extradition of Nurettin Oral, a Turkish Kurd refugee from Switzerland, to Turkey, where, according to Oral, he faces the threat of life imprisonment for “disrupting national unity and territorial integrity”.

The court accepted the applicant’s position that he could suffer grave and irreparable consequences if denied the right to a fair trial, and it also took into account that he has refugee status in Switzerland and that he has been in extradition custody in Croatia.

The Constitutional Court granted the motion to delay Oral’s extradition, noting that the complexity of the case required an analysis of the case file and the applicant’s extensive complaints.

Nurettin Oral, who is currently in custody in Osijek and has residence in Bern, filed a complaint of unconstitutionality to challenge rulings made by the Osijek County Court and the Supreme Court in proceedings launched to determine whether conditions had been met for his extradition to Turkey.

Turkey wants Oral for disruption of national unity and territorial integrity, a crime defined by its penal and anti-terrorism laws, which is equivalent to crimes against humanity and human dignity – terrorism – in Croatia’s Penal Code.

Oral said in his complaint that in its decision to allow his extradition the Supreme Court stated that the fact that he had obtained refugee status in Switzerland was not a decisive element in approving his extradition, which he described as a blanket and incorrect explanation given that Croatia’s obligation to recognise a person’s refugee status arose from international treaties that had precedence over national laws, which was why Croatia had the obligation to decline his extradition to Turkey despite the fact that Switzerland was not an EU country.

Oral also stated that Turkey charged him with a criminal act that was of a political nature and that his right to a fair trial would definitely be violated, as well as that the crime in question carried a sentence of aggravated life imprisonment.

The case has caused concern among Croatia’s human rights NGOs, which say that Oral would not have a fair trial in Turkey.


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