Serbia defies UN warning in handing over Kurdish political activist to Turkey

A Kurdish political activist seeking asylum in Serbia after being sentenced to 15 years in prison has been extradited despite a warning against the decision by the UN Committee Against Torture (CAT), television news channel Fox News reported.

Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan visited Serbia most recently on Oct. 11, where he participated in a Turkish-Serbian business forum. Twelve new agreements were signed with the Serbia's right-leaning government of President Aleksandar Vucic, including an update to the free-trade deal.

Lawyer Ana Trkulja said Tuesday that her client Cevdet Ayaz, a Kurdish political activist and a victim of torture who has been sentenced to 15 years in jail in Turkey for acts against the country's constitutional order, was taken away Monday afternoon from a centre for foreigners where he was staying after his asylum request was rejected by the Serbian authorities.

The extradition disregards recommendations by CAT, which has urged Serbia to refrain from the handover, the newspaper said.

“Apparently, Serbia is in the process of extraditing Ayaz to Turkey despite CATs issue of interim measures. Serbia, please be aware of your UNCAT obligations,” the chair of the CAT, Jens Modvig tweeted on Monday.

As a successor to the former Yugoslavia, Serbia was one of the first countries in the world to confirm the UN Convention against Torture and other Cruel, Inhumane and Degrading Treatment and Punishment, which came into force in 1987.


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