4th September, 2023

Costas Mavridis asks for intervention for Kenan Agia

Through letters to the President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, the President of the European Council, Charles Michel, and the President of the European Parliament, Roberta Metsola, MEP Costas Mavridis raises the serious issue of the extradition of the Kurdish activist Kenan Ayas to Germany.

In his intervention, Mr Mavridis explains that Kenan Ayas is a Kurdish activist, who was persecuted in Turkey because of his political views and his action in favour of human rights and was forced to leave because his life was in danger, while for some years now he has found refuge in Cyprus as a political refugee.

The MEP also referred to the history of his arrest by the Cypriot authorities following the European arrest warrant issued by Germany. In fact, as argued by Ayaz’s lawyer, it is based on general and unsubstantiated accusations of Ayaz’s possible support, through financial and other means, of terrorist activities.

He also notes that it is extremely worrying that there are no necessary assurances from the German authorities that Ayaz will not be extradited to Turkey and that in such a case, Ayaz’s life is in extreme danger.

It also stresses that the European Union and other international organisations have repeatedly noted in their reports that there is no rule of law and no independent judiciary in Turkey, which has become a huge prison for hundreds of thousands of academics, journalists, activists, Kurds, etc. on charges of “terrorism”. In addition, Mavridis referred to the health issues that Agias faces as a result of his 12-year imprisonment in Turkey under inhumane conditions and horrific torture.

For his part, Mr Mavridis called for urgent intervention by the leaders of the European institutions in order to take immediate and concrete action to ensure that Kenan Ayaz’s human rights are respected and his life is protected. He also underlines that the issue of Kenan Ayas cannot be handled procedurally but is an issue with serious political implications, which touches on respect for basic human rights, which we as the EU have made a priority and at the core of our Union.

Today, the defense filed a motion on behalf of Kenan Ayas to dismiss the panel of three judges because they showed bias against Kenan Ayas.

 

The defense had no choice but to make this extraordinary request because the court showed bias against Kenan Ayas by rejecting the defense’s request. The defense had requested that the newspaper article quoting Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s statement about Kenan Ayas’ trial be considered as evidence and read in court.

 

The well-known German daily Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung (FAZ) had summarized Erdoğan’s remarks in an article published on November 19 as follows: “The visit to the German capital had ‘opened a new chapter in our deep relations,’ Erdoğan said. He expressed his delight at a criminal trial at the Hamburg Higher Regional Court against an alleged official of the Kurdish terrorist group PKK. The man was arrested in Cyprus and extradited to Germany on the initiative of the Federal Prosecutor’s Office.” (See the press release of the defense from November 30, 2023).

 

The court rejected the request for the second time, arguing that Erdoğan’s statement had no relation to the case of Kenan Ayas. It was the second time that the defense had asked the court to allow this article to be part of the evidence. The defense had argued that Erdoğan’s statements showed that the extradition and trial of Kenan Ayas was in the interest of Turkey and that Kenan Ayas could be in danger after his release from prison because of the known habit of the Turkish secret service to operate outside of Turkey. In regard to both motions, the Public Prosecutor’s Office did not oppose the request but supported it by stating that there was an obvious connection between the article and the trial.

 

Despite the statement of the prosecution, the judges showed their determination not to deal with the Turkish influence on the trial. The judges have continuously tried to keep anything out of the trial that could indicate the political nature of the extradition request for Kenan Ayas and the charges against him.

 

Now another chamber of the Hamburg Higher Regional Court hast to decide on the motion to dismiss the judges. Until this decision is made, the trial will continue as scheduled.

 

 

Hamburg/Frankfurt/Nicosia, February 6, 2024

 

 

Attorney Antonia von der Behrens, Berlin

Attorney Stephan Kuhn, Frankfurt am Main

Attorney Efstathios C. Efstathiou, Nicosia, Cyprus

 

The FAZ article “Return to Turkey: Erdoğan calls Scholz the ‘other'” from November 19, 2023 can be found here:

https://www.faz.net/aktuell/politik/rueckkehr-in-die-tuerkei-so-sieht-erdogan-seinen-besuch-in-berlin-19324031.html