Greece Releases Turkish-Armenian Writer who Faced Deportation

Sevan Nisanyan

Turkish Armenian writer Sevan Nisanyan and his wife at the island of Samos.

A Greek court released on Friday a prominent Turkish-Armenian writer living under a temporary permit in Greece after fleeing a Turkish prison.

Sevan Nisanyan, a 66-year-old linguist and blogger has been arrested on the island of Samos last week and faced deportation. He was detained after Greek authorities refused to renew his residence permit, his wife Ira Tzourou said on Facebook and Twitter.

The court released him on the condition that he leaves Greece within two weeks.

The Armenian Embassy in Greece issued a statement on January 2 that it had sent a representative to the prison where Nisanyan was being held. It added that since Nisanyan is an Armenian citizen he would be welcomed back to Armenia.

In a Facebook post on Friday, Nisanyan wrote, “I have been released from custody after eight days in jail.

“Great thanks to everyone who sent their love and encouragement during these difficult days.”

Turkish-Armenian writer had been jailed in Turkey

The Turkish-Armenian writer had been jailed in Turkey in 2014 on charges of illegal construction, a case he claims was punishment for his outspoken views about restrictions on freedom of expression in the country.

He escaped from a low-security prison in 2017 and sought asylum in Greece.

Nisanyan had also previously been convicted in Turkey of blasphemy over a 2012 blog defending an anti-Islam film that ridiculed the Prophet Mohammed and sparked angry protests across the world.