25th April, 2023

Day 1 – Pre-Trial Proceedings

Five protesters outside the Central Jail of Nicosia, the leftmost holding up poster with the picture of Kenan Ayas and the text "Don't extradite Kenan Ayas", "Freedom for Kurdish politician Kenan Ayas".

A Pre-trial procedure took place, for the examination of the appeal filed on Friday 21.04.23, by the defence counsel Efstathios Efstathiou, against the decision of the Larnaca District Court, dated 19/04/23.

The hearing of the appeal was scheduled for May 9, while the Supreme Court reserved its decision for May 16, after the completion of 25 days from the first instance decision. The District Court’s ruling approved the extradition of the Kurdish political refugee to Germany, with District Judge Michalis Papathanasiou accepting the documents of the German prosecution authorities and the suspicion of involvement in a terrorist organisation.

The appellant’s position remains that the situation between Turkey and the Kurds is considered an armed conflict and that there is no justification for considering a terrorism case against a man who has not been involved in any criminal act and no evidence has been presented to push in that direction. Moreover, as he testified before the Court, he was not a member of the PKK, which of course has no armed activity in Europe.

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