Suspect in Hedegaard shooting case may never stand trial in Denmark

No process exists to force Danish national arrested in Turkey back home

The 26 -year-old Danish national arrested in Turkey on Friday on suspicion that he carried out the attempted assassination of anti-Islam author Lars Hedegaard may never answer the charges against him in a Danish courtroom.

Denmark does not have a extradition treaty with Turkey, which would automatically compel the Turkish authorities to send the suspect to Denmark.

A Turkish court would have to institute extradition proceedings – a process that could prove to be both lengthy and complicated.

Hedegaard sceptical
The man is charged with the 13 February 2013 attack on Hedegaard during which the author alleged that he was attacked by a Middle Eastern-looking man wearing a red jacket. Hedegaard said that the man shot at him one time, but fled on foot after a scuffle between the two men.

The suspect, a Danish citizen with a Middle Eastern background, allegedly left Denmark on the same day as the assassination attempt. He was arrested near Istanbul carrying a fake passport.

“The investigation into the incident led to Friday’s arrest,” Jorgen Skov, an inspector for the Copenhagen Police Department, said at a press conference on Friday.

“He has appeared before a judge and is being held. We are talking to the Turkish authorities to find a way to have him returned to Denmark.”

Hedegaard said that he does not have much hope that the suspect will be returned to Denmark.

“I am sorry that he has been arrested and imprisoned in Turkey, because he can now hire a bunch of lawyers to avoid extradition,” Hedegaard told DR Nyheder.

“It could take many years, and I don’t think much of the possibility.”

READ MORE: Hedegaard lashes out following failed assassination attempt

The suspect’s motives remain unclear, and although they would not rule out the possibility of a conspiracy, they are currently working under the assumption that the man was working alone.

Hedegaard is an historian, journalist and author well known for his anti-Islamic opinions.