Sweden's Supreme Court greenlights extradition of man to Turkey: Media
The man would be the first PKK supporter to be extradited by Sweden to Turkey.
Sweden's Supreme Court has given its approval for the government to extradite a man accused of supporting the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) to Turkey, a key demand by Ankara to ratify Stockholm's stalled NATO membership, media reported on Tuesday.
The ruling means that it's now up to Sweden's government to decide on whether to extradite the man, the newspaper Aftonbladet reported, adding that he would be the first PKK supporter to be extradited by Sweden to Turkey.
In Sweden, the government makes the final decision on extradition requests but cannot grant a request to another state if the Supreme Court rules against it.
According to Aftonbladet, the court reached the decision last week and comes just as the two countries are due to discuss Sweden's stalled NATO application after the re-election of Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
The 35-year-old man was sentenced in 2014 to four years and seven months in a Turkish prison for transporting a bag containing cannabis, the newspaper indicated.
He was released on parole and moved to Sweden but was arrested in August last year following a request from Turkish prosecutors who want him to serve the rest of his sentence.
The newspaper pointed out that the man claims the real reason he is being sought by Turkish authorities is due to his affiliation with the pro-Kurdish Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP) and for having shown support for the PKK, a group blacklisted by Ankara.
According to Aftonbladet, the court noted in its decision that it had asked the Turkish prosecutor if there were ongoing investigations or charges against the man regarding "propagating for terrorist organisation" or "insulting the Turkish president," which the prosecutor denied.
Turkey and Hungary are the only NATO member states yet to ratify Sweden's bid -- which requires unanimous ratification.
Erdogan has so far blocked Sweden, accusing Stockholm of being a haven for "terrorists", especially members of the PKK.
Ending two centuries of neutrality and military non-alignment, Sweden and neighboring Finland announced bids to join NATO in May 2022, in the wake of the war in Ukraine.
While Sweden's bid still faces opposition, Finland managed to become the 31st member of NATO on April 4.