Swedish-Turkish journalist and writer Hamza Yalçın, arrested in Spain in August at the request of Turkey, has returned home to Sweden after Spain decided not to extradite him to Turkey, The Local news website reported on Friday.
Fifty-nine-year-old dual citizen Yalçın, landing on Thursday at Copenhagen Airport, spoke to the media before continuing on to the Swedish city of Halmstad. He was reported to have said: “It is over. In prison it seemed like an unreal dream, but it’s real now.”
The Spanish government on Sept. 29 decided not to extradite Yalçın, a Turkish-Swedish journalist and writer who was taken into custody in Barcelona over an Interpol red notice requested by Turkey in August for alleged terrorism links.
Regarding Yalcin’s situation, Pen International issued a lengthy statement in August 21. “It is highly alarming that Spain arrested Hamza Yalçın pursuant to a request emanating from Turkey, which through Interpol appears to be attempting to extend internationally its persecution of journalists for exercising their right to freedom of expression,’ said Carles Torner, executive director of PEN International.”
In their statement Pen International also said: “in addition to calling on the Spanish authorities to release Yalçın immediately and unconditionally, PEN International calls on all states to take into account Turkey’s human rights record when assessing requests for international law enforcement cooperation. Furthermore, PEN International calls on Turkey to release all those imprisoned for exercising their right to freedom of expression.”