7th June, 2024

Press release of the defense of Kenan Ayas: One year after the extradition of Kenan Ayas to Germany, expectationf of the trial in Germany not fulfilled

On June 2, 2023, Kenan Ayas was extradited from Cyprus to Germany. He had been arrested in Cyprus on March 15, 2023, on the basis of a European arrest warrant issued by Germany for membership in the PKK, although he was only accused of peaceful activities.

The transfer to Germany was preceded by a long legal and civil struggle in Cyprus against the extradition of Kenan Ayas. Nevertheless, the district court in Larnaca, Cyprus, declared the extradition of Kenan Ayas admissible. At the same time, in its decision of April 19, 2023, the court pointed to the unresolved issues that need to be clarified by the German judiciary: The Cypriot court was not allowed to examine the validity of the accusations against Kenan Ayas. Rather, it must be clarified in Germany to what extent the actions of which Kenan Ayas is accused are merely an expression of political opinion and whether the PKK should be classified as a terrorist organization.

Today was the 30th day of the trial in the criminal case against Kenan Ayas at the Hanseatic Higher Regional Court in Hamburg. It has long been clear that the expectations of Cypriot society and the judiciary for a transparent and comprehensive clarification of the “terrorism charges” against Kenan Ayas have not been met. On the contrary: with a radicalism that is unusual even for German so called state security criminal proceedings, the court refuses to deal with central questions:

– The court is not interested in the extent to which Kenan Ayas’s alleged actions are covered by freedom of speech and freedom of assembly.

– The court bases key facts solely on intelligence findings, which it refuses to effectively verify.

– At the same time, the court does not introduce key evidence (text messages and telephone conversations) into the public main hearing, so that the public cannot take note of it and form its own comprehensive picture of the evidence allegedly available against Kenan Ayas.

– All of the more than 70 motions for evidence filed by the defense to attack the charges against Kenan Ayas were denied by the court.

– Furthermore, the court concealed the political nature of the trial. It does not explain why the European arrest warrant against Kenan Ayas was requested just before the NATO summit in 2022 and the visit of the Chief Prosecutor to the Turkish President Erdoğan. It ignores the fact that Erdoğan personally praised the criminal case against Kenan Ayas. The court also restricted Kenan Ayas’ right to make statements and prohibited him from discussing a one-sided expert opinion on the “Turkish-Kurdish conflict” in the main hearing.

Hamburg/Frankfurt/Nicosia, June 7, 2024

Attorney at Law Antonia von der Behrens, Berlin

Attorney Stephan Kuhn, Frankfurt am Main

Attorney Efstathios C. Efstathiou, Nicosia, Cyprus