20th June, 2024

Day 31 – Federal prosecutor demands four and a half years for Kenan Ayas

In the trial against Kurdish activist Kenan Ayaz in Hamburg, the Federal Public Prosecutor’s Office is demanding a four-and-a-half-year prison sentence. Observers feel like they are in Turkey

The trial against the Kurdish politician Kenan Ayaz, who has now been on trial in Hamburg for a year, continued on Wednesday at the Hamburg Higher Regional Court. On the 31st day of the trial, the public prosecutor pleaded.

After the court had rejected further motions for evidence from the defense and Judge Wende-Spohrs had declared the hearing of evidence concluded, public prosecutor Simons began his plea.

He first went into the personal circumstances of Kenan Ayaz. He had been arrested and abused in Turkey in 1993 at the age of 18, like his then 13-year-old brother, had founded an educational academy after his release in 2005 and had been imprisoned again for six months. He fled to Cyprus in 2010 to escape a further prison sentence. Turkey’s repressive policies and excessive violence are well known. It is also well known that the Turkish army is cracking down on the PKK and HPG.

Ayaz has been charged with membership of a terrorist organization, the PKK. Simons went on to discuss the organizational structure of the PKK. He claimed that there were no relevant changes in the PKK and KCK even after the reorganization. Even though the KCK had declared that it was striving for democratic confederalism, the “Democratic Nation” model was still being used to establish state-like structures.

It is obvious that Simons has not understood the concept of the Democratic Nation. “Nation” according to Abdullah Öcalan, rethought as a democratically organized coexistence of all ethnic and religious groups, is ultimately anything but primitive nationalism.

Simons went on to say that the self-administration sought by the KCK and PKK was “unrealistic” and “unrealistic”, as Turkey would never agree to such autonomy due to its stance, so it could only be achieved by force.

The PKK is still geared towards Öcalan’s “leadership”. The prosecutor completely ignored the fact that Öcalan has been isolated for 25 years and has had no contact with the outside world for three years. With regard to the armed conflict, Simons declared: “No doubt” that it was a “significant attack”.

Following the raison d’état that Turkey is not a fascist state that has been systematically committing genocide against all non-Muslim and non-Turkish peoples since its foundation 101 years ago, even outside its own territory, in Syria and Iraq, in his logic it is of course the PKK liberation movement that is terrorist and not the Turkish state, which invades neighboring countries and murders civilians on a daily basis.

Kenan Ayaz was active as a “full-time cadre” for the PKK in Hamburg between September 2018 and June 2019 and then in Cologne and the North Rhine region until July 2020. This was revealed by surveillance measures, in particular the interception of text messages. He took part in “supra-regional cadre meetings” and commemorative events and helped organize marches and festivals. He had behaved in a “conspiratorial” manner, even if he had not used an alias. Fundraising for the PKK could not be proven, but phrases such as “going for a walk” and “going around” or asking whether a “job was finished” would allow the conclusion that it was about fundraising, even if the defense was able to prove in one case that such a phrase meant exactly what was said, namely the delivery of food to a “long march”.

There was every indication that Kenan Ayaz was a cadre of the PKK. This is a terrorist organization, and the decision of the Belgian judiciary of 28 January 2020 that the PKK is a party to an armed conflict does not contradict this. Armed struggle is “not a suitable means” to fight against oppression and the PKK fighters are not combatants in an armed conflict, according to Simons. A prohibition error was out of the question.

There were mitigating factors in the sentencing: Ayaz had wanted to serve the Kurdish cause, the pre-trial detention in Germany had been difficult for him, also because he did not speak German.

However, the fact that Ayaz had “carried on with his eyes open” despite his detention experience was an aggravating factor. He had also not confessed. He will serve his sentence in Cyprus when the trial is over. In the end, Simons demanded four years and six months in prison for Kenan Ayaz.

Trial observer: “I feel like I’m in Turkey”

Trial observers and members of the “FreeKenan” committee were dismayed by the level of the sentence demanded. The entire reasoning and the proceedings were in no way different from those in Turkey. “I feel like I’m in a court in Turkey,” said an observer with her own experience of persecution. Even if it makes a big difference whether five or 5,000 people are sentenced in a year, the way Kenan Ayaz was dealt with brings back bad memories of her experiences in Turkey.

Defense plea on 2 July

Kenan Ayaz’s defense will make its plea on 2 July. Kenan Ayaz’s defense speech is expected to begin on 9 July.

The website kenanwatch.org provides information in Greek, English and German about the trial and the protests in Cyprus and Germany. Kenan Ayaz is happy to receive mail. Letters can also be written in languages other than Kurdish or Turkish, as translation is guaranteed. Please note the spelling of the authority’s name “Ayas” so that the letters can be delivered.

Kenan Ayas

Hamburg remand prison

Holstenglacis 3

20355 Hamburg

Donation account:

Rote Hilfe e.V. OG Hamburg

Keyword: Free Kenan

IBAN: DE06200100200084610203