Supreme Court Denies Extradition of Turkish Man Accused of Terrorism

Lawyer for Turkey government said Brazil will appeal the decision

Brasília and São Paulo

Brazil's Supreme Court (Supreme Court) decided unanimously to deny extradition of Turkish Ali Sipahi, 31, requested by the Turkish government.

Justices Edson Fachin, Ricardo Lewandowski, Gilmar Mendes, Celso de Mello and Cármen Lúcia voted to deny the Turkish government's request.

A restaurant owner, Sipahi has lived in São Paulo for 12 years, is married to a naturalized Brazilian Turk and has a small child.

The Turkish government accuses him of committing a crime for sympathizing with Hizmet - an opposing move that President Recep Tayyip Erdogan considers terrorist, although there are no records of terrorist acts committed by him.

Ali Sipahi (Foto: Danilo Verpa/Folhapress) - Folhapress

In a statement to the court on May 3, he said he feared for his life if sent back to Turkey and that he would not be entitled to a fair trial in Turkey.

Sipahi was arrested on April 6, while returning the US with his family. A month later, he was granted the right to await trial, but had to wear an electronic anklet.

The Federal Public Defender's Office (DPU) and human rights organizations such as Conectas closely followed the case, considering that there was worldwide persecution by Erdogan against opponents.

"The decision was unanimous, very significant," said Camila Asano, Conectas' program coordinator. "All ministers voted against extradition saying that Brazil is prevented from deporting anyone to a country where there is no guarantee of a fair trial. The Migration Law, source of this guarantee, was exalted in the votes of all ministers."

Translated by Kiratiana Freelon

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