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Kosovar Prosecutor Withdraws Request To Extradite Turkish Citizen

Ugur Toksoy appears in court in Pristina on December 14.
Ugur Toksoy appears in court in Pristina on December 14.

A prosecutor in Kosovo has withdrawn his bid to a Pristina court to allow the extradition of a Turkish citizen allegedly linked to a U.S.-based cleric Ankara blames for orchestrating a failed coup last year.

During a December 14 hearing, prosecutor Ali Rexha told the judge that Turkish authorities had not provided enough evidence against Ugur Toksoy to justify their extradition request.

Rexha told reporters after the court session that he repeatedly asked the Turkish Embassy to provide more evidence but did not receive any.

He said the prosecution might file a new request later if there was new evidence.

Toksoy welcomed the prosecutor's decision, saying: "Today here I saw justice. I am very happy."

His lawyer, Adem Vokshi, said that "if Turkey had proof about him, they would have sent it by now."

There was no immediate reaction from the Turkish Embassy in Pristina.

Toksoy, a teacher, was arrested in October at the request of Turkish prosecutors who accused him of being linked to Fethullah Gulen, who the Turkish government blames for ordering a July 2016 attempted coup against President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

Toksoy rejects the allegation, and Gulen himself denies involvement in the failed coup.

The court in Pristina in October heard that Toksoy worked in Kosovo for the nongovernmental organization Atmosfera, which runs a school in the city of Prizren.

Turkey has pressured dozens of countries to clamp down on any groups linked with Gulen, whose religious and social movement operates around 2,000 educational institutions in about 160 countries.

With reporting by Reuters and Balkan Insight