4th April, 2023

Day 8 – Lawyer Antonia Von Der Behrens on the witness stand

At today’s hearing, the proceedings continued with the examination and cross-examination of German lawyer Antonia Von Der Behrens. Mrs Behrens discussed the procedure for authorizing and withdrawing criminal prosecutions followed by the Federal Ministry of Justice and the formality control of the German court.

In the course of her testimony she explained that the Ministry’s decision does not need to be reasoned and is only checked as to its typical validity, but not as to its content. The enormous discretion of the German Ministry allows for the non-examination of the existence of an actual criminal offense under the Criminal Code, which makes the prosecution political.

It is therefore clearly demonstrated that the prosecution of Kenan Ayas was clearly initiated by a decision of the German executive and not the judiciary. As a result, the German court failed to check the compliance with basic human rights. This constitutes a violation of the principle of separation of authorities, since the court, the guardian of the guarantees of a fair trial and human rights, is transformed ‘from the mouth of the law’ to the ‘mouthpiece of the government’.

Mrs Behrens’ testimony clearly demonstrated the political nature of the prosecution of the Kurdish Kenan Ayas.

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: