Release of Danish murder suspect 'decision of Turkish judiciary'

Release of Danish murder suspect 'decision of Turkish judiciary'

Release of Danish murder suspect decision of Turkish judiciary

Danish Foreign Minister Martin Lidegaard (L) and Justice Minister Mette Frederiksen (R) participated in a parliamentary session on the release of the suspected jihadist on Oct. 16. AA photo

The release of the shooting suspect of a right-wing writer and a critic of Islam in Denmark was not a “choice of executive power, but a ruling of the judiciary,” Turkish Foreign Ministry spokesperson Tanju Bilgiç said in a written statement on Oct. 22.

The decision was taken after a judicial process, Bilgiç added, noting that Turkey “understands” the sensitivities and concerns of the Danish authorities.

The Turkish government had launched the extradition process of Danish citizen Basil Hassan, but the process continued after his lawyer lodged an appeal with the Supreme Court and Hassan was released in the meantime, he also said, adding that there is no official record showing that he has left Turkey.

Danish Justice Minister Mette Frederiksen said on Oct. 19 that Turkey had admitted to releasing Danish writer Lars Hedegaard’s shooting suspect but had failed to explain why.

A delegation of high-ranking Danish officials visited Ankara on Oct. 17 to investigate reports that a 27-year-old Danish man of Lebanese origin – arrested in Turkey in April for allegedly trying to shoot Hedegaard on Feb. 5, 2013 – was released. 

The alleged assassination attempt on Hedegaard failed when the assailant’s gun jammed. The suspect fled Denmark, but was reportedly arrested at Istanbul’s Atatürk Airport while trying to enter Turkey using a fake passport.

Danish media had previously reported that the suspect, who Denmark wanted to be extradited, was used as part of a prisoner swap conducted in exchange for the release of 46 Turkish hostages held by Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) in Iraq.

ISIL militants released the Turkish hostages, who had been abducted from the Turkish Consulate General in Mosul in June, on Sept. 20.