Dutchman ‘forgotten’ in Turkish prison

Dutchman ‘forgotten’ in Turkish prison

İsmail Saymaz ISTANBUL - Radikal
A Dutch citizen has been under arrest in Turkey for two and a half years and is awaiting a bureaucratic decision.

Jamal Sahami was detained at Istanbul’s Atatürk Airport in 2011, after an arrest warrant had been issued on his name due to an offense he allegedly committed at the age of 17. Sahami, who was on his way to return to the Netherlands back then, was “temporarily” kept in Turkey before being deported to the Netherlands, but is in Istanbul’s Maltepe Prison because the decision is yet to be signed by the Cabinet.

Sahami wrote a letter to the daily Radikal, claiming he could serve a maximum term of six months had he been returned to his country, and would not be under arrest as long. The Dutchman also applied to the Constitutional Court due to the lengthy arrest period.

Sahami was charged with “armed looting” and “using a person’s credit card” and went to Turkey while the police searched for him. However, on Feb. 25, 2011, he was arrested in Istanbul.

An Istanbul court ruled on March 18, 2011 that Sahami’s demand to be returned to his country was “acceptable” and the decision was presented to the Cabinet on Aug. 10, 2011. However, the Cabinet is yet to sign the documents. On April 30, 2013, the Ministry of Justice responded to Sahami’s question, that a decision was still “pending.”

Sahami’s lawyer Hasan Alıcı recalled the Dutchman was not sentenced by his country’s court and given he was under the age of 18 at the time of the alleged offense, “there was a strong possibility that he would be tried without an arrest.”

“I would be tried in the children’s court and would be submitted to a reintegration program if found guilty,” wrote Sahami, who now speaks and writes Turkish fluently, in his letter. “I want this unjust treatment to be stopped immediately.”