Activist Ecevit Piroğlu released on condition not to leave Serbia

Activist Ecevit Piroğlu, who was arrested in Belgrade three years ago at the behest of Turkey, has been released on condition not to leave Serbia.

Activist Ecevit Piroğlu, who was arrested in Belgrade three years ago at the request of Turkey, has been released on the condition that he continue not to leave Serbia. Baki Selçuk, who is in Serbia as a spokesman for the Voice of the Prisoners platform (Tutsakların Sesi Platformu, TSP), said that Piroğlu was taken from the hospital to a camp and then to the police, and that he is now free.

In the "red list of most wanted terrorists"

Ecevit Piroğlu was arrested at Belgrade airport in June 2021 on the basis of an Interpol "Red Notice" issued by Turkey. He is accused of "terrorism". In concrete, he is wanted for his participation in the 2013 Gezi protests in Istanbul and his support for Rojava. The Alevi Kurd has been politically active in Turkey since his youth. He was a board member of the Human Rights Association (IHD) and was an executive director of the Socialist Democracy Party (SDP). After the Gezi uprising was crushed by the government, Piroğlu went to Northern Syria and joined the fight against the Islamic State. He traveled to Serbia to apply for political asylum: Turkey has Piroğlu on the "Red List" of most wanted "terrorists" and has put a bounty of ten million TL on his head. He faces at least thirty years in prison.

Illegal detention

The extradition proceedings against Piroğlu were discontinued in May 2023 after Serbia's Supreme Court of Appeal ruled that he could not be extradited to Turkey. Piroğlu was released but he was arrested again in January of this year and taken to a deportation center in Padinska Skela. The basis for this new arrest was an order from the Serbian Ministry of the Interior to leave the country immediately. Nevertheless, Piroğlu was still held in custody, although this violates the guidelines of the UN Committee against Torture, Serbian law and previous court rulings. Likewise, the Serbian judiciary ignored Piroğlu's request to leave voluntarily.

Hunger strike ended

Ecevit Piroğlu first went on hunger strike during the extradition proceedings in June 2022. He lost thirty kilograms in 136 days. After the Supreme Court finally suspended the extradition, he ended the resistance. He resumed this protest on February 12 and ended the hunger strike on 26 June. The DKP/BÖG organization called on him to do this when he weighed only 45 kilos and was in very poor condition.