16th May, 2023

Day 3 – Α Unanimous Verdict of Shame

A unanimous decision to reject the appeal of Kurd Kenan Ayas was issued today by the Supreme Court, ratifying the first instance decision to extradite him to Germany. Amidst tension, the Supreme Court rejected the appeal of Kenan Ayas, who remains in custody.

The Supreme Court did not agree with the defence’s position that there is no presumption of a criminal offence against Ayas and accepted the German documents regarding his membership of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK).

In their unanimous decision, Katerina Stamatiou, Charis Malachtos and Ioannis Ioannidis, spoke of a separation between Germany and Cyprus regarding the treatment of the PKK, accepting Kenan Ayas’ participation in the organisation, although he did not admit this. Despite the fact that in the German documents justifying the European warrant, the reference is vague and does not contain a presumption of a criminal act against the Kurdish fighter, who is recognized as a political refugee since 2013 in the Republic of Cyprus.

Moreover, the Supreme Court’s ruling, which confirmed the first instance decision of the Larnaca District Court, stressed that Germany cannot proceed with a successive extradition of Ayas to Turkey without the consent of Cyprus, while recognising as “terrorist” the speeches he gave in Hamburg and other German cities between 2018-2022. The Supreme Court finds no violation of Kenan Ayas’ human rights, no persecution of political opinions or unfair trial.

In the meantime, according to Kenan Ayas’ defence lawyer Efstathios Efstathiou, the case will go all the way to the European Court of Human Rights, while the Kurdish fighter himself is expected to be extradited to the German authorities within 10 days. Although his health condition is deteriorating, he will continue his hunger strike until his vindication. “The Supreme Court did not dare as the judge in Larnaca dared in the case of the Kurdish man Cherkez Korkmaz in 2019 or as judges in Greece dare in similar cases,” Mr Efstathiou said.

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