Iraqi Kurdish authorities release Swiss man

A Kurdish flag waves inside Erbil's citadel, where the Swiss man was held for over a week. Copyright 2017 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.

The Geneva man arrested in northern Iraq ten days ago has been released. He is expected to return to Switzerland in a few days.

This content was published on October 6, 2020 - 18:43

The man had been jailed by Iraqi Kurdish authorities after entering Iraq’s Dohuk region via Syria.

“He is in good health,” said his lawyer, Olivier Peter, who spoke to him after his release on Tuesday. Though he had denounced the “arbitrary detention”, Peter will not seek compensation for his client. “The most important thing was to get him released quickly and safely.”

Via Peter, the Genevan in his 20s voiced his gratitude to the Swiss authorities and other groups that helped facilitate his release. His lawyer told Keystone-SDA that his continued detention was perhaps linked to the fact that in Geneva, he had campaigned for the autonomy of Rojava, the area in northern Syria controlled by the Kurds.

“In another context, he would have been released after a few hours,” Peter said.

While in the region, the young man had been working on reforestation projects. As he prepared to return home, he was unable to present his passport, which he had lost. The Iraqi Kurdish authorities detained him on September 27 and transported him to the regional capital Erbil, together with two other foreign nationals.

In compliance with the JTI standards

In compliance with the JTI standards

More: SWI certified by the Journalism Trust Initiative

Contributions under this article have been turned off. You can find an overview of ongoing debates with our journalists here. Please join us!

If you want to start a conversation about a topic raised in this article or want to report factual errors, email us at

Share this story

Change your password

Do you really want to delete your profile?