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Armenia assisting writer facing Greece deportation: embassy

Sevan Nişanyan

The Armenian embassy in Greece on Sunday said it was “taking measures” to help a Turkish-Armenian writer facing deportation from Greece after his residency was not renewed for undisclosed reasons, Agence France-Presse reported.

In a statement on Facebook, the embassy said it was “aware of developments involving Armenian intellectual” Sevan Nişanyan, who has been living under a temporary permit in Greece since 2017 after fleeing a Turkish prison.

Nişanyan, a 65-year-old linguist and blogger, was detained on the island of Samos on Thursday after Greek authorities refused to renew his residence permit, his wife Ira Tzourou said on Facebook and Twitter.

The Armenian embassy said it was “taking all possible measures to resolve the case.”

Tzourou said that a Samos court on Monday would decide whether he will be deported to Turkey or Armenia.

But police sources in Athens and Samos on Sunday said deportation could take place without a hearing.

The police declined to explain why the writer’s residency was not renewed.

Tzourou and the Armenian embassy did not respond to AFP requests for comment.

Nişanyan had been jailed in Turkey in 2014 on charges of illegal construction, a case he claims was punishment for his outspoken views about restrictions on freedom of expression in the country.

He fled a low-security prison in 2017 and sought asylum in Greece.

Nişanyan had also previously been convicted in Turkey of blasphemy over a 2012 blog defending an anti-Islam film that ridiculed the Prophet Mohammed and sparked angry protests across the world.

Greek courts usually refuse to extradite to Turkey persons who say they face persecution for their views in the neighboring country.

Earlier this week, an appeals court in Thessaloniki freed a 27-year-old man of Kurdish origin sought by Turkey on drug trading charges.

The man, who fled to Greece in 2020 after absconding while on prison furlough, says he was wrongfully jailed in Turkey over his political views.

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