22nd June, 2024

Joint press release of the defense of Kenan Ayas

Federal Public Prosecutor demands 4 years and 6 months imprisonment for Kenan Ayas

On June 19, 2024, the 31st day of the main trial, the Hanseatic Higher Regional Court closed the hearing
of evidence in the criminal case against Kenan Ayas. Before this, the court had denied three additional
defense requests for evidence, which was not surprising since almost all of the more than 70 defense
requests for evidence had been denied so far. This concludes the phase of the trial in which evidence is

The representative of the Federal Public Prosecutor then made his closing argument. As expected, he
saw the prosecution fully justified by the evidence: The PKK is a “foreign terrorist organization” and
Kenan Ayas is a “member of the PKK”.

According to the prosecutor, the assumption that the PKK is a terrorist organization is “substantiated”
by more than 30 judgments of German higher regional courts. These judgments, however, only show
that Germany adheres to the assessment of the PKK as a “terrorist organization” regardless of the
specific political and historical circumstances. It is irrelevant for the Federal Public Prosecutor and the
courts whether the PKK is engaged in peace negotiations with the Turkish government, whether it is
fighting with the YPG/YPJ against the Islamic States, or whether it is actually only defending itself in
northern Iraq against attacks by the Turkish army which are in violation of international law. It is this
ideological stance that Germany is exporting with the European arrest warrants to EU member states
that – like Cyprus – treat the PKK differently and do not prosecute its (alleged) members as terrorists.

There is also no question for the prosecutor that Kenan Ayas was the regional leader of the PKK in
Hamburg and Cologne from 2018 to 2020. He based this charge only on intelligence information, which
could not be questioned by the defense, and one-sidedly interpreted text messages and phone calls,
which he attributed to Kenan Ayas. In fact, however, his plea showed that the evidence cited in support
of the prosecution’s allegations is not reliable and that the line of argument is informed by the objectives
of the prosecution and circular and contradictory.

At the end of his plea, the prosecutor requested that Kenan Ayas be sentenced to 4 years and 6 months
in prison.

This disproportionate sentence which the prosecutor asked for is an expression of harsh attitude of the
Federal Public Prosecutor towards the PKK. It also disregards the fact that Kenan Ayas has no criminal
record, that he was unjustly imprisoned in Turkey for many years, that he was severely tortured and that,
even according to prosecutor, he can only be accused of a few specific and non-violent acts. This is to
sanction the fact that Kenan Ayas has neither confessed nor repented, that has not called himself a
“terrorist”, but has taken a clear and unbending stance for the Kurdish cause.

The closing arguments of Kenan Ayas’ three defense lawyers will follow on July 2, 2024. At the next
hearing, probably on July 9th, Kenan Ayas will be granted the so-called last word. He will have the
opportunity to explain his view of the trial and the charges in detail.

Berlin/Frankfurt/Nicosia, June 19, 2024

Attorney Antonia von der Behrens, Berlin
Attorney Stephan Kuhn, Frankfurt am Main
Attorney Efstathios C. Efstathiou, Nicosia, Cyprus