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Brazil top court unanimously denies extradition of Turkish exec

The request filed by Turkey had been based on charges of terrorism

Published in 06/08/2019 - 20:13

By André Richter Brasília

The Second Panel of the Brazilian Supreme Court unanimously rejected the request submitted by Turkey to have executive Ali Sipahi, who has lived in Brazil for 12 years, extradited. The motion had been lodged by the Turkish government and was based on terrorism charges.

In April, the businessman was arrested by the Federal Police following an extradition motion, but left prison after Justice Edson Fachin, rapporteur in the case, replaced it with provisional remedy. The executive had deposited approximately 1 thousand Turkish liras from 2013 to 2014 in a bank believed to finance terrorism, Turkish authorities argued.

A fair trial

During deliberations, most justices followed the recommendation made by Fachin, who argued it is known that Turkey is going through political instability, with doubts looming over whether the investor will be given a fair trial.

“One cannot be sure an unbiased trial will be held, in compliance with all constitutional guarantees,” Fachin declared.

The justice also said the terrorism charges were not described by Brazilian law in 2013, when the Turkish government accused Sipahi of making the deposits. The law on the matter was passed in 2016.

A common man

Sipahi’s counsel denies his involvement in terrorism. He is a naturalized Brazilian and owns a restaurant in São Paulo, in addition to being a member of the Brazil–Turkey Cultural Center.

According to lawyer Elaine Angel, the executive has fallen victim of political persecution, just like every member of the Hizmet Movement, which criticizes the Turkish government and is seen as a terrorist group by President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

“He’s a common man, turned into a terrorist by Erdogan’s authoritarian regime,” she stated.

Translation: Fabrício Ferreira Edition: Fábio Massalli / Augusto Queiroz

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