Supreme Court of Sweden Blocks Extradition of Four People to Turkey

Supreme Court of Sweden Blocks Extradition of Four People to Turkey
© King Grecko via Flickr


Jakob Lindelöf

Europe and Human Rights Researcher, 

Global Human Rights Defence

The Supreme Court of Sweden has denied the extradition of four Turkish citizens to Turkey, as they have been accused of various crimes, such as being members of organisations deemed as terrorists by the Turkish government, espionage and being part of a coup attempt against Turkish President Erdoğan (Törnmalm & Alström, 2023). This follows Sweden’s application to NATO and Turkey’s demand for Sweden to show its commitment to its future allies by turning over individuals residing in Sweden who are deemed as threats to Turkey. 

The Supreme Court of Sweden argued that the selected people could not be extradited as their crimes were political in nature, and thus face the risk of persecution by the Turkish state if they were to return (TT Nyhetsbyrån, 2022). Turkey has been criticised for its use of a politicised judicial system to counter their political opposition (Tahirogulu, 2022) and since the four people are wanted for political reasons, it stands to reason that they would not be given a fair trial.

Last year Sweden also denied the extradition of Bulent Kenes, a Turkish journalist accused of being involved in the 2016 coup attempt against President Erdogan. If he were to return to Turkey, he would risk facing persecution due to his political beliefs (AFP in Stockholm, 2022).

It is reported the Turkish government has a list of at least 33 people it wants extradited from Sweden (Juhlin et al., 2022).  

So far, the Swedish government, in an attempt to seek favour from the Turkish government amidst the NATO accession process, has extradited two individuals, one with connections to the PKK which Turkey has labelled as a terrorist organisation. The same person was reportedly denied asylum in Sweden (Juhlin et al., 2022). The other individual is wanted for credit card fraud but argues that he was falsely convicted for refusing military service, his religious conversion and having Kurdish roots (Milne, 2022).

Swedish Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson stated that while Turkey has its demands for the extradition of several individuals, this issue must be abided by Swedish law (Lewis, 2023).

Sources and Further Reading:

AFP in Stockholm. (2022, December 19). Swedish court blocks extradition of journalist sought by Turkey in Nato deal. The Guardian. Retrieved January 15, 2023, from 

Juhlin, J., Carlén, L. Öbrink, A. & Kock-Emmery, L. (2022, December 4). Regeringen bekräftar: Två män utvisade till Turkiet. SVT Nyheter. Retrieved January 15, 2023, from

Lewis, B. (2023, January 8). Sweden says Turkey asking too much over NATO application. Reuters. Retrieved January 15, 2023, from 

Milne, R. (2022, August 11). Sweden agrees to extradite fraudster wanted in Turkey. Financial Times. Retrieved January 16, 2023, from

Tahiroglu, M. (2020). How Turkey’s Leaders Dismantled the Rule of Law. In The Fletcher Forum of World Affairs (Vol. 44, No. 1, pp. 67-96). The Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy.

TT Nyhetsbyrå. (2023, January 12). Regeringen säger nej till fyra utlämningar. Aftonbladet. Retrieved January 15, 2023, from

Törnmalm, K. & Alström, V. (2023, January 12). Regeringen stoppar fyra utlämningar till Turkiet. SVT Nyheter. Retrieved. January 15, 2023, from