9th May, 2023

Day 2 – Supreme Court Hearing

Before Supreme Court Judges Katerina Stamatiou, Haris Malachtou and Ioannis Ioannidis, Kurdish Kenan Ayas for the hearing of his appeal against the first instance decision of the Larnaca District Court to extradite him to Germany.

The proceedings lasted about two hours and included the arguments of both parties. The prosecution insists on its position of (the un-proven) recognition of the “terrorist activity” of Kenan Ayas, with the sole justification of the German warrants that mention his participation in the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK). Before the judges of the Supreme Court, the terms of the first instance judgment were raised concerning the guarantees requested from Germany to avoid his extradition to Turkey, for which there is no commitment from the German authorities.

In his own intervention, the appellant’s lawyer Efstathios Efstathiou presented the reasons why the Supreme Court should not execute the European arrest warrant in order not to extradite Kenan Ayas on the basis of his political beliefs. He noted that the Kurdish political refugee did not receive a fair trial in the Larnaca District Court. At the same time, he referred to an oxymoron regarding the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), which is recognized as a “terrorist organization” in the German penal code but not in the Cypriot one, and this should be clarified. A person cannot be protected as a political refugee and extradited as a so-called ‘terrorist’. The Republic of Cyprus must finally decide whether or not the PKK is a terrorist organization, regardless of European lists, so that this inconsistency is no longer observed, Mr. Efstathiou said.

Inside the Court, Mr. Efstathiou stressed that the District Court was not concerned at all with the fact that the appellant is a person who was granted asylum status and was satisfied with the decision of the German authorities that the accused is a member of the PKK, which has not been proven, as it did not have before it nor did it request a more detailed and satisfactory description of the alleged acts of Kenan Ayas.

The decision of the Supreme Court was reserved, even though the 60-day deadline of 16 May after his arrest, given by the German authorities to authorise his extradition, expires 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:

https://www.faz.net/aktuell/politik/rueckkehr-in-die-tuerkei-so-sieht-erdogan-seinen-besuch-in-berlin-19324031.html