The Ministry of Justice of Armenia has stated that it did not hand over Kurds Atilla Cicek and Huseyin Yildirim to Turkey.
The respective statement released by the ministry reads: "In addition to the statement released by the National Security Service, we inform that the Ministry of Justice has the authority to transfer a convict to his country of citizenship to serve the remainder of his sentence. However, the Ministry of Justice has not transferred Atilla Cicek and Huseyin Yildirim of Kurdish nationality to Turkey, as it was disseminated on the internet. Moreover, a matter of handing over or transferring of the mentioned persons was not discussed at the Ministry of Justice.”
The press service of the Kurdistan Communities Union (KCK) had announced Armenia’s handover of two Kurdish militants to the Turkish authorities, calling this move a betrayal of the Armenian government.
According to the information publicized in the “DataLex” Judicial Information System of Armenia, Atilla Cicek and Huseyin Yildirim were charged with illegally crossing the Armenian border through the Araks River on August 16, 2021, and smuggling weapons and ammunition. In January 2022, the first instance court of Armenia’s Syunik Province sentenced Yildirim and Cicek to seven years in prison; there was also a decision to confiscate funds. But later, the Court of Appeal of Armenia reduced their prison terms to conditional imprisonment with three years of probation.