10th April, 2023

Day 10 – Final Arguments

The final arguments of two parties and the conclusion of the Kenan Ayas trial have come to pass. The representative of the Prosecution was content to repeat the German documents and the terrorism case for which the Kurdish political refugee is accused, without mentioning any criminal act that would justify his extradition.

For its part, the defence, invoking the ECHR, the UN Charter and the UN Guidelines on Refugees as well as the Protocol on the Protection of Victims of Non-armed Conflict, tried to prove that this was not a case of terrorism but a political prosecution that would lead to an unfair trial of Kenan Ayas. It recounted Kenan’s adventure inside Turkey until 2009, when he was forced to leave the country when the Turkish authorities launched an operation to arrest members of the KCK.

It is the position of the defence that the criminal proceedings against him are aimed at persecuting him for political reasons, therefore there is an obvious reason to prohibit the execution of his warrant, as it is aimed at political persecution because of his ethnic origin and pro-freedom activities. Precisely because of the belief that the requested person is being persecuted in Germany for political reasons, there is a serious risk that he will be extradited to Turkey in succession, where he risks being subjected to inhuman and degrading treatment and his life, freedom and physical integrity are at risk. The lawyer of Kenan Ayas noted that the Republic of Cyprus is obliged to continue to provide asylum to the wanted man on the basis of UN guidelines.

A final decision is expected on 19 April 2023.

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