Former PYD leader Muslim detained in Prague upon Turkey’s request
The former co-leader of the Syrian Kurdish Democratic Union Party (PYD), Salih Muslim, has been “temporarily arrested” in the Czech capital Prague upon Turkey’s demand, but his extradition would be a “surprise,” officials in Ankara have said.
“Of course we demand his extradition. But its fulfillment would be a surprise. Even if he is not extradited he will sense more intensely that Turkey is hot on his trail,” the sources said on Feb. 25.
Since Interpol has not responded to Turkey’s demand for Muslim to be sought with a red notice, a direct prosecution has not taken place against him, they added.
Turkish security forces detected Muslim’s whereabouts via his tweets and informed the Czech police with a demand for his arrest. He was caught on Feb. 24 in a hotel room, state-run Anadolu Agency reported on Feb. 25.
The Turkish ambassador in Prague handed the demand for the extradition to the Czech Foreign Ministry, it added.
Confirmation from his son
According to the extradition agreement between Turkey and the Czech Republic, a demand for extradition should be negotiated between the justice ministries of the two countries.
Muslim’s son, Welat Muslim, confirmed that his father has been put under arrest.
“We asked the party about the incident and they confirmed it… We were speaking with my father once in every few days. We last spoke with him a few days ago. As the PYD and the family, we have been taking steps for his release,” he told Sputnik news agency on Feb. 25.
The PYD and its military wing, the People’s Protection Units (YPG), are considered by Turkey as the Syrian offshoots of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), hence terrorist groups.
After a bomb attack on Feb. 17, 2016 in Ankara targeting shuttles carrying the staff of the Turkish Armed Forces, in which 29 people were killed, prosecutors issued a warrant for Muslim over terrorism charges. The Turkish Justice Ministry applied to the Interpol to issue a red notice for his arrest. The Interpol created a registry for him but abstained from issuing a red notice.
On Turkey’s ‘red list’
On Feb. 12, Turkey’s Interior Ministry added Muslim to its “wanted terrorists” list along with several other names.
Muslim is among 44 names added to the “red list,” which includes most sought-after individuals such as leaders and senior figures of groups deemed as terrorist organizations by Turkey.
Turkey said anyone giving solid information on Muslim’s whereabouts would be entitled to a 4 million Turkish Lira ($15. 1 million) reward.