Akhanli free again!
Doğan Akhanli is a German citizen. He was on holiday in Spanish Granada, when Spanish authorities caught him. Turkey submitted the arrest application, the extradition of the writer was requested via Interpol.
Akhanli's lawyer sees a politically motivated act in Turkey's surrender request. It remained unclear what the author was accused of. They mentioned in a woolly way that Akhanli was a member of an armed terrorist organization. However, this accusation was and is not officially confirmed.
Turkey now has 40 days to substantiate the application for extradition. For this period, Akhanli cannot leave Spain. After this time, there will be another hearing procedure. Until then, the writer can move freely in Spain. He only has to report to the police in Madrid once a week.
The award-winning author had escaped from Turkey in 1991, considered as a political refugee in Germany. After the military coup 1980, Akhanli went to the underground, where he was sought as a member of the Communist TDKP and arrested in Istanbul from 1985 to 1987. In 2011, he won acquittal for beeing responsible for robbery and manslaughter in Turkey. Nevertheless, the acquittal was reserved again in 2013.
Doğan Akhanli is known for his criticism of Turkey. In his literary works, he addresses the genocide of the Armenians 100 years ago. The Turkish government denies the genocide to this day. In Germany, his commitment to an open approach regarding historical violence and to the reconciliation of the Alliance for Democracy and Tolerance was awarded. Moreover, Akhanli is a member of the international writers' association PEN, who, - like Federal Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel -, took up a strong position against his extradition.
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