3rd April, 2023

Day 7 – Non-consensual Extradition, Testimonies

Testimony was given to support Kenan’s non-consensual extradition to Germany. Ayas’s testimony contained historic references as well as references to suspicious dealings between Germany and Turkey to extradite, arrest and hand over Kurdish fighters who had taken refuge in Europe. Evidence of Kenan’s political activity were submitted, including speeches at Hamburg University and on the Kurdish channel ‘Medya Haber’. The trial transcripts of the Diyapbakir Criminal Court (09/2022) on the basis of which the Turkish arrest warrant for Ayias remains in force, and on the basis of which the European arrest warrant was issued, were also submitted. Within the transcripts, names of Kurdish politicians wanted by the Turkish state without evidence of criminal acts, are referred. Also important is the documentary evidence concerning a meeting between the Federal Prosecutor General of Germany and the Turkish President, 5-7 July 2022, where the strengthening of legal cooperation between Germany and Turkey was discussed. This was followed by the signing of a memorandum of understanding on legal issues and an intensified search for Kurdish fighters.

The position of the Defence through Kenan’s testimony is that since there is an armed conflict in Turkey there can be no basis for using the anti-terrorism law against the Kurds. Kenan denied that he is a member of the PKK, stressing that the PKK is not active in European cities. The position of the defence is that the persecution of Ayas is political, as demonstrated by the general authorisation of the German Minister of Justice (2011) to arrest, without a warrant, Kurds with political activity.

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