Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) Representative on Freedom of the Media Harlem Désir on Wednesday urged Secretary-General of Interpol Jürgen Stock that the international police organization carefully review requests by Turkey demanding the arrest of people critical of the government living outside the country.
In a statement on the OSCE website, Désir welcomed Interpol’s recent decision to suspend the red notice issued for a German writer of Turkish origin, Doğan Akhanlı, who was released in Madrid after being detained by Spanish police on Saturday.
“I am relieved to see that Interpol has decided to lift the red notice, applying the rules of its own Constitution, including Article 3, which aims to protect individuals against persecution,” Désir said.
“Interpol needs to carefully consider each case involving individuals, and in particular journalists, actively engaged in the public debate on Turkey, before deciding about any further action. Interpol must not be misused by any State to stifle freedom of expression,” he added.
Raising the case of Swedish-Turkish journalist Hamza Yalçın, who was arrested by Spanish authorities on Aug. 3 2017 on an international arrest warrant requested by Turkey, Désir expressed the hope that the arrest warrant for Yalçın would also be suspended.
Several EU leaders, including German Chancellor Angela Merkel, German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel, Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) Rapporteur Bern Fabritius and members of European United Left-Nordic Green Left (GUE/NGL) in the European Parliament condemned the misuse of Interpol red notices by the Turkish government against people abroad who are critical of the government.
The 60-year-old writer was detained on Saturday at around 8:30 a.m. local time at his hotel in the southern Spanish city of Granada over an Interpol red notice earlier requested by Turkey.
Akhanlı was released on Sunday on condition that he remain in Madrid while Spain assesses Turkey’s extradition request, his lawyer İlyas Uyar said.
While Akhanlı was released by the Spanish authorities but cannot leave Madrid, Yalçın remains in custody in Spain on “terrorism” charges.