Caritas worker freed by Slovenian authorities

Caritas worker, Öztürk, who was arrested on July 17 in Slovenia. Keystone

A Swiss aid worker of Turkish origin has been released from a Slovenian prison after being held for more than two months.

This content was published on September 26, 2000 - 06:38

Naci Öztürk, an employee of the Swiss Catholic aid group, Caritas, was allowed to walk free on Monday, after the authorities in the Slovenian town of Koper opted not to heed demands by Turkey that he be extradited.

Speaking after the verdict, Öztürk's Swiss lawyer, Marcel Bosonot, said his client would immediately leave the country for Switzerland.

The man's release came just hours after the Swiss justice minister discussed the case in parliament. Responding to requests for more information on the affair, Ruth Metzler emphasised the fact that the Caritas worker faced a prison sentence - not the death penalty - in Turkey.

Turkish-born Öztürk became a Swiss citizen in June, after living in the country for 16 years. He came to Switzerland as a refugee.

He was detained on July 17 under an international arrest warrant issued by Ankara.

Öztürk is alleged by the Turks to have been involved in two murders in 1980. At the time he was a member of the leftist militant group, Dev Sol.

Öztürk reportedly was not aware that a warrant for his capture had been put out. He maintains Ankara is persecuting him on political grounds.

swissinfo with agencies

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