13th September, 2023

Protest against the detention of Kenan Ayas in Cyprus, IMERODROMOS

Last Thursday, May 4, a protest was held in Nicosia against the extradition of Kenan Ayas to Germany. On the same day, the Kurdish fighter detained in Cyprus started an indefinite hunger strike.

The protest march organised by an anarchist group in Nicosia was also attended by the Kurdish community, politicians from the AKEL and EDEK parties and journalist Alekos Michaelides, who has been reporting on the case since the arrest of Kenan Ayas on 15 March.

The protest march continued towards the prison where Ayas is being held pending his extradition. In front of the prison, activists chanted “Freedom for Kenan Ayas” and “Kurdistan will be the grave of fascism”. In a speech, Ayas’ long imprisonment was highlighted and it was stressed that: “The struggle of a people for freedom cannot be judged as terrorism”.

As a fighter of the Kurdish freedom movement and because of his political identity, Kenan Ayas remained in prison in Turkey for twelve years. He has been living in the Greek part of Cyprus since 2013 and is a recognized refugee. He continued his political engagement in exile, publicly and legally. He is apparently not accused of individual offences by the German judiciary either.

The final decision on his extradition to Germany will be taken on 16 May.

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: