Bucharest Court of Appeal denies Turkish authorities’ extradition request for journalist

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A judge from the Bucharest Court of Appeal has denied the request filed by the Turkish authorities to extradite journalist Kamil Demirkaya from Zaman Romania.

The decision has been taken after 15 minutes of deliberation. The Prosecutor’s Office upon the Bucharest Court of Appeal had also opposed the journalist’s extradition.

Turkish journalist Kamil Demirkaya, employed at Zaman Romania publication, who had been taken into custody by the Romanian authorities while facing extradition, has been heard at the Bucharest Court of Appeal last Thursday, saying he is opposing the extradition and that he is asking for political asylum in Romania. Demirkaya told magistrates he doesn’t trust the justice in Turkey, claiming torture is used against the imprisoned ones. He added that many of his friends had been sent to jail.

The Bucharest Court of Appeal has postponed the ruling in his case on December 14, as the Turkish journalist’s lawyer has asked for a 8-day respite to prepare his defence.

Kamil Demirkaya told judges at the Thursday’s hearing that he is a teacher and journalist by profession and that there are no real charges against him and that he is staying in Romania legally, while voicing hope the extradition request will be denied. „I oppose to the extradition. The main reason is that the justice is not functioning in Turkey. There are torture out there and unorthodox methods against inmates”, he argued.

„Teachers and journalists are targets for the Turkish authorities. At present, statistics say that out of 326 journalists imprisoned worldwide, about 170 are apprehended in Turkey”, he told journalists upon leaving the court.

He recounted that his 75yo father-in-law had been detained for two days in Turkey and interrogated after he had returned from a visit to Romania.

As for the charges that he would have supported Gulen movement, Demirkaya replied that „it is a ridiculous accusation”. „Do I look like a terrorist to you?”, he asked journalists.

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