Sweden's Supreme Court approves extradition of Kurdish man convicted of drug charges
A Kurdish man who was convicted and incarcerated in Turkey over drug charges and who fled to Sweden after being released on parole may be handed back to Turkish authorities, Sweden's Supreme Court said, giving the green light to the man's extradition.
In Sweden, the government makes the final decision on extradition requests but cannot grant a request to another state if the Supreme Court rules against it.
The 35-year-old man was sentenced in 2014 by a Turkish court to four years and seven months in prison for transporting a bag containing cannabis, Swedish media said. He was released on parole and moved to Sweden but was arrested in August last year following a request from Turkish prosecutors who want him to serve the rest of his sentence.
The man claims the real reason he is being sought by Turkish authorities is his affiliation with the pro-Kurdish Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP) and for having expressed support for the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK).
According to Swedish newspaper Aftonbladet, the court noted in its decision that it had asked the Turkish prosecutor if there were ongoing investigations or charges against the man regarding "spreading propaganda for a terrorist organization" or "insulting the Turkish president", which the prosecutor denied.
The Supreme Court's decision in favor of extradition followed the recent election win by Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan, and was issued amid growing expectations for Ankara to ratify Sweden's NATO membership bid.
Turkish authorities stall the approval of Sweden's accession to NATO, as they accuse Stockholm of harboring groups they call "terrorists" and demand that Swedish authorities clamp down harder on these groups and extradite members of such groups.