On 21 June, a Baku court held the first hearing on Turkey’s request to extradite a Turkish citizen from Azerbaijan.
Isa Özdemir stands accused by Turkish authorities of being a member of FETÖ, exiled Turkish preacher Fethullah Gülen’s alleged terrorist network.
Özdemir, who has lived in Azerbaijan since 1993, calls the accusations slanderous and has protested against his possible extradition to Turkey. He is currently being held under arrest in Baku.
At the first hearing, Özdemir’s lawyers presented to the court documents showing that he had received asylum from the UN.
A representative from the Turkish Ministry of Justice submitted a letter guaranteeing that, should Özdemir be extradited to Turkey, he will not be subjected to torture or inhuman treatment and all his rights will be respected.
The court requested notarized copies of all the documents. The next hearing will be held on 4 July.
The Turkish authorities have been pursuing Gülen and his supporters since the summer of 2016 when Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan accused the preacher of organizing an attempted coup. In the two years since, tens of thousands of people have been arrested in Turkey for links with Gülen, more than 100,000 people have lost their jobs, and persecution for “Gülenism” has spread to the South Caucasus.