Czech court releases former PYD leader despite Turkey’s extradition request

The former co-chairperson of PYD Salih Muslum is brought to the court with security members in Prague, where he was taken into custody, on February 27, 2018 in Prague, Czech Republic. Lukas Kabon / Anadolu Agency

A Czech court on Tuesday released former co-chairperson of the Syrian Kurdish Democratic Union Party (PYD) Salih Muslim, who 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. Turkish security officials and the Ministry of Justice had begun the administrative process for the extradition of Muslim.

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

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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