Barcelona asks Spanish prosecutors to release Turkish journalist arrested at airport
The Catalan capital’s city council sends letters showing “deep concern” about the situation of the press in Erdogan’s regime
Members of Barcelona's city government sent letters on Wednesday to Spanish prosecutors to demand the release of a Swedish-Turkish journalist arrested on August 3 at the Catalan capital’s airport while he was on his way to London. Hamza Yalçin had an international warrant by Turkey out for his arrest and after his detention, the National Court sent him to jail provisionally. In the coming weeks, the judges will have to decide whether he will be extradited to the country ruled by Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. Barcelona’s local government expressed its “deep concern” over the events and demanded Yalçin’s extradition be ignored.
Barcelona, “a city committed to the defense of human rights”
“It should be remembered that Turkey is the country with the most jailed journalists, according to data from the European Federation of Journalists,” stated the letter sent on Wednesday. Moreover, it highlighted that Barcelona is “a city committed to the defense of human rights” and branded Yalçin’s current situation as “unfair”. The missive was sent to Spain’s public prosecutor and to the National Court’s head prosecutor.
"We are concerned about the alarming situation of the press in your country with almost one hundred journalists arrested"
Barcelona's city government
The Catalan capital’s city council sent another letter with similar content to the Turkish ambassador in Spain and the Middle Eastern country’s consul in Barcelona. “We are concerned about the alarming situation of the press in your country with almost one hundred journalists arrested,” pointed out the text, which also mentions freedom of speech and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
Sweden and journalists organizations, against the detention
Barcelona is not the only one questioning Spain’s justice decision. The Swedish Foreign Affairs Ministry is offering legal assistance to the detainee and several organizations have demanded his freedom, including the Journalist Union of Catalonia and the Association of European Journalists in Catalonia. Turkey has accused Hamza Talçin, who has not set foot in the Eurasian country since 1984, of insulting president Erdogan in an article published in ‘Focus’ magazine and of having terrorist links with the far-left group Revolutionary People's Liberation Party/Front.