4th September, 2023

Kenan Ayas case: how is such humiliation based? by Alekos Michaelides, huffpost.gr

After serving 13 years of imprisonment in Turkey, first in 1993 at the age of 17 and then in 2009, Kenan Agias fled to Cyprus. He trusted her, like so many other Kurds whose lives are in danger in Turkish-occupied Kurdistan. She thought that the Cypriot people are a brotherly people, she knows what Turkish genocidal policies and survival under Turkish rule means. He thought of our common fighter, Theofilos Georgiades and the Solidarity Committee, who fought so many battles for the persecuted Kurds in the 1980s and 1990s. And in 2011, the Republic of Cyprus granted him political asylum, recognising that his physical integrity, freedom and dignity are at risk if he ends up in the hands of the Turkish regime again.

All this was erased in a matter of minutes on Wednesday 19 April, a black day for Cypriot justice, democracy, statehood and our society. The President of the Larnaca District Court, Michalis Papathanasiou, absorbing the arbitrary nature of the German documents and the vain obsession of the Legal Service, consented to the extradition of the Kurdish fighter Kenan Ayas to Germany. He did not think about where he was, did not read two and three times the excellent summation of Ayias’ lawyer, our brother Efstathios Efstathiou, and murdered the trust of Cypriots and Kurds without a word. Why?

Perhaps he thought that he was serving a Cyprus-German transnational relationship or that this man was dangerous for Europeans or Turkish citizens. Perhaps he saw the case as a simple case, in which he is supposedly setting the terms.

The decision to extradite Kenan Ayas is not tenable. Just as the humiliation of 24 years for the surrender of Abdullah Ocalan to Turkey is intolerable, even if the figures are different. The dream is heavy and the situation is unacceptable.

How can it be that the District Judge and the Legal Service have not recognised that the situation in Turkey is not a case of terrorism? How can it be that a man whose crime was a few speeches about the right of the Kurdish people was convicted? How could they have digested and expressed the vulgar excuse of membership of the PKK, which does not exist, act or terrorise Europe?

The dream is heavy but the struggle continues. After all, according to the Kurdish paradigm, friends are only the mountains. Vasta, Kenan Ayas. We will win.

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