Turkish-Armenian writer facing deportation after Greece arrest

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A prominent Turkish-Armenian writer living under a temporary permit in Greece after fleeing a Turkish prison has been arrested and faces deportation, Agence France-Presse reported on Saturday, citing his wife.

Sevan Nişanyan, a 66-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.

A Samos court on Monday is to decide whether he will be deported to Turkey or Armenia, she said.

Greek police could not immediately confirm the case.

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 escaped from 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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