ATHENS — A Greek court has ordered the release Istanbul-Armenian writer Sevan Nishanyan on the condition that he will leave the country within two weeks, the Armenian Embassy in Athens said Friday.

Nishanyan, who escaped from a Turkish prison in 2017 and took refuge in Greece, faced extradition to Turkey after Greek local authorities refused to extend Nishanyan’s residency permit on December 29.

Nishanyan was later arrested on the grounds that his residence permit had expired and that he was in Greece illegally.

The Armenian Embassy said in a statement on Facebook that an administrative court had “announced a decision according to which Sevan Nishanyan will be released today.”

“According to the decision, he is obliged to leave Greece voluntarily within 15 days. As Sevan Nishanyan is an Armenian citizen, he can leave for Armenia if he wishes,” it added.

The Armenian Embassy in Greece issued a statement on January 2 that it had sent a representative to the prison where Nishanyan was being held.

Nishanyan was arrested in Turkey in 2014 and sentenced to eleven years on charges of “illegal” construction in his garden in the village of Şirince, Izmir.

In a Facebook post today, Nishanyan 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.”

Nishanyan was chastised by Turkish authorities in 2012 after he blogged that he had the right to criticize the Prophet Mohammed.

Nishanyan incensed many in Turkey in 1994 when he authored the book The Wrong Republic (Yanlış Cumhuriyet), a critique of the founding myths of the Republic of Turkey.

 

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