[UPDATE] Former PYD leader Muslim arrested in Prague, Turkey launches extradition process

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Former Co-President of Syrian Kurdish Democratic Union Party (PYD) Salih Muslim Mohamad poses before a press conference on March 31, 2016 in Paris. / AFP PHOTO / Eric Feferberg

Salih Muslim, former co-chairperson of the Syrian Kurdish Democratic Union Party (PYD), was detained and subsequently arrested in the Czech capital of Prague on Sunday, the state-run Anadolu news agency reported.

Muslim’s detention was based on an Interpol Red Notice issued at Turkey’s request for his arrest.

The Turkish Interior Ministry recently put Muslim’s name on the list of “most wanted terrorists” and offered a bounty of nearly $1 million.

A Kurdish official close to Muslim said the former PYD leader was in Prague attending a conference. After a Turkish participant took a photograph of him, Czech police detained the Syrian politician, following a request by Turkey.

Muslim will appear before a court, the officials said, adding that Czech authorities would decide whether or not he would be remanded in custody.

According to the Anadolu report, the Czech authorities also asked Turkey to submit the necessary documents for Muslim’s extradition.

Turkish security officials and the Ministry of Justice have begun the administrative process for the extradition of Muslim.

In 2014, Muslim paid a visit to Turkey and met with Turkish Foreign Ministry officials. In an interview he gave to the Radikal daily back then, he said his visit took place following an invitation from the Turkish Foreign Ministry.

Over the past several years, Turkey’s view of Muslim has apparently changed.

The inclusion of Muslim’s name on the terror list comes at a time when the Turkish military and Free Syrian Army (FSA) fighters on Jan. 20 launched Operation Olive Branch in Afrin against the PYD, which Turkey sees as the Syrian extension of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK).

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