SEPTEMBER 17 2012 22:46h
ZAGREB/DUBROVNIK, Sept 17 (Hina) - The Dubrovnik County Court on Monday annulled extradition detention for Turkish journalist Vicdan Oezerdem, who is wanted in Turkey on terrorism charges, after which she left a prison hospital in Zagreb on Monday afternoon, according to her Croatian lawyer Tihomir Misic.
Dubrovnik County Court judge Mirjana Dabelic said that the detention order was replaced with precautionary measures which include the order that the journalist must not leave her current place of stay and must report to the police twice a week. Oezerdem's passport was also seized by the police.
Misic said that earlier on Monday he had appealed with the Croatian Supreme Court against the Dubrovnik County Court ruling that conditions had been fulfilled for the handover of the Turkish reporter to Turkey.
Turkey has accused her of terrorism activity, while the reporter and nongovernmental organisations claim that she is a victim of political persecution in her country. She was put in prison in Turkey after participating in anti-government protests.
Vicdan Oezerdem, who has been granted refugee status in Germany, was arrested in Metkovic, southern Croatia, in late July while travelling from Germany for summer holidays.
Earlier on Monday, Croatian human rights ombudsman Jurica Malcic sent a letter to the Ministry of Justice saying that the extradition of this Turkish journalist to Turkey would be in violation of international standards of human rights protection and that therefore the journalist should be allowed to return to Germany where she had been granted political asylum.
According to the letter, representatives of the National Preventive Mechanism for the prevention of torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment visited Vicdan Oezerdem in the prison hospital in Zagreb on August 30. They learned from their conversation with the journalist and available documentation that she had been arrested in Turkey for participating in protests against government repression and for freedom of speech, and that she had been subjected to torture for years while serving her prison sentence.
Malcic said that her extradition would be in violation of the Geneva Convention on the Status of Refugees, the European Convention on Extradition, the case law of the European Court of Human Rights, Croatia's International Legal Aid Act, Asylum Act and other relevant laws.
Last Saturday, Croatian Prime Minister Zoran Milanovic said that his government would not extradite reporters over verbal offences.
The latest decision by the Dubrovnik court was welcomed by the UNHCR Office in Croatia, which expressed hope that Croatia would abide by international standards and conventions and would not extradite Vicdan Oezerdem to Turkey.