20th December, 2023

Day 7 – Trial against Kenan Ayaz: “The food is there” as evidence of PKK membership

Trial against Kenan Ayaz: “The food is there” as evidence of PKK membership
The Hamburg PKK trial against the Kurd Kenan Ayaz offered a lesson in manipulative language at the last hearing, which illustrated the unrestricted repression against the defendant and the Kurdish freedom movement.
The last day of the trial in the 129b proceedings against Kenan Ayaz (officially Ayas) before the Hamburg Higher Regional Court began on Thursday with the questioning of witness Andreas P., an officer of the Federal Criminal Police Office (BKA), who could no longer remember any of the details relevant to the defense. This questioning confirmed once again that the investigation did not dwell on its own inconsistencies – everything was interpreted from the perspective of the intended outcome.
“The food is here”: coded message of fundraising?
Lawyer Antonia von der Behrens called this “circular reasoning” after the lunch break in defense motions. An example that could be laughed at if it were not part of the fiercest repression: For the alleged collection of funds for the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), text messages from September 10, 2019 with content such as “We are still marching” or “The food is not here yet” and another time “The food is here” were defined as coded messages of fundraising. The public prosecutor’s office did not come up with the idea that it could actually be about food, namely the simple logistics of a major public and registered event – the “Long March” of the Kurdish youth movement for the freedom of Abdullah Öcalan that year had just reached Cologne on that date.
Calls from foreign numbers “instructions from the European representation of the PKK”
The circular reasoning of the BKA or the public prosecutor’s office is not always so obvious to refute. Another example: Since birthday wishes were received on a cell phone attributed to the defendant in October, it is assumed that he gave false personal information in Cyprus – now it is clear that his birthday is in October – instead of the obvious conclusion that this message was obviously not addressed to Kenan Ayaz, but to another person. In this way of thinking, calls from foreign numbers are also “instructions from the European representation of the PKK” – without knowing whether these numbers are not being used domestically. And so it went on. A lesson in manipulative language that illustrates the unrestricted repression against Kenan Ayaz and the Kurdish freedom movement – and shows how urgent solidarity with the PKK and the fight against its ban are.
Contradictions of the defense
After the lunch break, the defense team consisting of lawyer Stephan Kuhn and his colleague Antonia von der Behrens filed a motion to release Kenan Ayaz from pre-trial detention – and, due to the complete lack of evidence, to limit the accusation pursuant to Section 154a (2) of the Code of Criminal Procedure to a violation of the Association Act in the period from the end of February 2019 to the end of November 2019. In addition to motions such as the “The food is here” text message intercepted by the Federal Criminal Police Office (BKA), they made the lack of evidence clear in a number of statements. The defense also justified its objection to the ordered self-reading procedure. This means that not all evidence files have to be read out during the proceedings, but many are “read by the court itself”, which has a significant impact on the trial and the defense. “In high density and almost systematically, the tendentiously translated and interpreted summaries of covertly recorded telecommunications from the proceedings against Mustafa Çelik as well as the voice recognition of the translator working for the Bremen State Criminal Police Office are to be introduced, among other things, through the introduction of the police notes of the Bremen State Criminal Police Office. This is all the more remarkable as the officer of the LKA Bremen who was heard as a witness, Detective Chief Inspector D., refused, with the approval of the court, to give the name of the very translator on whose interpretations all the notes of the LKA Bremen are based.”
Speculation by BKA investigators given the status of evidence
The defense motion further states: “In addition, the investigation notes make the assessments, the selection decisions and the evaluations of the investigating officers deployed the quasi-secret subject of the main trial, i.e. removed from public and individual attention.” This means that the unfounded speculations of the BKA investigators described above are given the status of evidence.
The bloating of the evidence files also makes the defense more difficult, especially since only one public defender is granted and paid, and the self-reading procedure ordered on this scale massively undermines the principle of a public trial. The main hearing is de facto deprived of its core of taking evidence and becomes a kind of secret procedure. This underpins the character of the proceedings as political repression and as a gift to the autocrat Erdoğan. 
Already in view of the obvious and unrefuted appearance that the European arrest warrant against Kenan Ayaz is connected to the discussions about Sweden and Finland joining NATO and Turkey’s pressure on NATO states to prosecute alleged PKK supporters – i.e. that a foreign autocratic state is influencing the proceedings – the terrorist accusation must be dropped and Kenan Ayaz’s pre-trial detention lifted, according to his defense.
The trial will continue on Monday, December 11, at 9.30 am.
 

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