A Turkish citizen wanted by the US for his involvement in a terrorist attack that killed two US military personnel in Afghanistan has been set free by Turkish authorities following his deportation from Germany, where the suspect completed an 11-year prison sentence last year, Voice of America (VOA) reported.
Adem Yılmaz’s German-based lawyer told VOA that his client has been released following two days of detention at an Istanbul airport by Turkish law enforcement authorities.
“There is no court case against Adem Yılmaz in Turkey since he never lived in Turkey before. Turkish authorities detained him for two days and then set him free,” Michael Murat Sertsöz told VOA.
“If they had not released him, that would have been a double punishment. It is not allowed for the same crime,” Sertsöz added.
Sertsöz was referring to what is known as “double jeopardy” in legal terminology where a suspect tried and punished for a crime in one country cannot be tried again for the same crime in a different country.
Yılmaz is wanted by the US for his involvement in a suicide attack that killed two US military personnel in Afghanistan in 2008. Washington requested that German authorities hand the suspect over to the US to be tried on terrorism charges, a request rejected by a German court.
In 2016 the US requested that Germany extradite Yilmaz to the US, but the German court sought more information from US authorities. Germany wanted assurances that the extradition would not lead to double jeopardy since German law forbids extraditing a person for a crime for which the sentence has already been served.
The United States expressed disappointment over Germany’s decision to deport him to Turkey instead of extraditing him to the US to face charges against him in New York.
“The German government deliberately helped Yilmaz escape justice by placing him on a plane to Turkey,” former acting US Attorney General Matthew Whitaker said in a statement after Yılmaz’s deportation.
One US official told Bloomberg earlier this month that the US has filed a “Red Notice” with Interpol to secure Yilmaz’s detention in Turkey.