A Kurdish man wanted by German authorities on terrorism-related charges has been re-arrested in the Republic of Cyprus on a new extradition warrant, following a back-and-forth on legal issues.
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Cerkez Korkmaz, who was arrested on March 21 at Larnaca International Airport based on an international arrest warrant issued by German authorities, was set free for a few moments on Monday only to be re-arrested on a new warrant.
The defence team during the 60-year-old Kurdish activist’s extradition hearing had previously raised a number of legal issues, including the question whether prosecution authorities in Hamburg had the authority to sign an international extradition request related to terrorism charges.
After the 60-day deadline for a Cypriot response to the request had expired, German authorities issued a new warrant, this time signed by the federal prosecutor’s office in that country.
Old "embarassing" cases
The delay was overshadowed by old extradition cases that emerged in local media recently, with some case described as “embarrassing” for the Republic of Cyprus.
Korkmaz ‘s warrant was issued in connection with crimes committed in Germany between 2013 and 2015, alleging that the suspect was a member of PKK, a leftist group formed in the late 1970’s and subsequently placed on the terrorist list almost two decades ago.
But as time was running out for a Nicosia court to either comply with or refuse the extradition, on May 13 the local judge presiding over the case said she had sent an email to justice ministry officials in order to seek clarification from German authorities. On May 17, the judge suspended the extradition hearing in order to request a legal opinion from the Court of Justice of the European Union.
Cypriot officials reportedly also sought clarification from German authorities as to the basis for including PKK on a terrorism list.
Korkmaz remains in custody until his new hearing which is set to take place on June 10. His bail was set at €110,000.