Maxime Azadi, who runs the Netherlands-based Kurdish news agency ANF, was stopped and arrested in Belgium and then released on bail in late December. Turkish authorities had been investigating Azadi’s reporting on the Kurdish Workers’ Party (PKK) and blacklisted him as a possible collaborator with the PKK, considered a terrorist organisation.
The case involves ANF’s publication in March 2013 of “the identities of people considered responsible for the deaths of PKK militants,” French-language news site 7sur7 reports. Turkish officials deemed the publication of the names a harmful interference into their own investigation regarding the culprits.
Azadi is well-established in Europe, connected with and outspoken regarding the Kurdish and Turkish issues.
Reaching into European borders
According to the Council of Europe’s “media freedom alerts” section, Turkey got both Belgium and Interpol involved in the case, with a “red notice” being issued for Azadi’s detention. The Interpol website describes a “red notice” as “a request to locate and provisionally arrest an individual pending extradition,” rather than an international arrest warrant per se.
Interpol puts out the alert to “police all around the world” after a member country files a request for the notice along with information on a suspect, and it is accepted - but it is not legally binding unless other countries’ authorities decide to make it so. On 16 December, in the Belgian city of Turnhout, a judge ruled in favor of an arrest warrant for Azadi; his attorney filed a motion for his release three days later, and Azadi obtained it on 23 December upon making bail.