The Republic of Cyprus arrested Kenan Ayaz, a Kurdish political refugee, on March 15, 2023, following an arrest
warrant issued by the German government. Kenan Ayaz, 49, spent 12 years in various prisons in Turkey for his
political ideas and as an activist of the Kurdish movement. Since 2013 he has been living in Cyprus and has been
granted political refugee status. Kenan Ayaz is a political activist who exercises his right to travel and
participates in conferences in different countries within the framework of the refugee status. On March 15,
2023, he was detained during passport control at Larnaca airport, where he had traveled to visit his family in
Switzerland and to attend a conference. Mr. Ayaz is a political refugee in Cyprus for political reasons and is
under the protection of the Cypriot state. Disregarding international refugee law, the Cypriot state has arrested
Mr. Kenan Ayaz, whom it recognizes as a refugee, at the request of the German state and ordered him to be
deported to Germany by the local court. Cyprus decided to send him to Germany on the grounds of the
fulfillment of a European arrest warrant issued by the European Commission. With this decision, Cyprus
became the first country to fulfill the European arrest warrant.
The German state is sacrificing Kurds for its economic and political interests with Turkey. The State of Germany
has a stricter policy towards Kurds and Kurdish institutions than in Turkey, and crimanilizes Kurdish activists. In
its approach towards Kurds, the German state goes beyond the European norms of human rights and law,
raiding Kurdish institutions for their political activities, raiding homes and imposing years-long sentences on
activists simply because they are on the “terrorist organization” list, as seen in the case of Kenan Ayaz. Peaceful
and lawful demonstrations organized by Kurdish organizations are provoked. Dozens of Kurds have been
prosecuted for this, and some have been sentenced.
The Federal State of Germany has been approaching Kurds in line with the wishes and policies of the Turkish
state. Ignoring the situation of human rights in Turkey, the domination of the law by the government, antidemocratic practices, and in cooperation with the Turkish state, the German state is resorting to unlawful
policies against the Kurds. Most recently, on July 5-7, 2022, the Federal Prosecutor of Germany met with
Erdogan, attended by the Chief Prosecutor of the Supreme Court, Bekir Sahin. In this meeting, the Judge
Advocate General and the German Federal Prosecutor signed an agreement that once again reiterated the
attitude towards political Kurds in Europe. After the German Federal Prosecutor’s meeting with the President of
Turkey and the subsequent signing of the legal cooperation agreement, there has been an increase in the
pressure against Kurds.
There is no legal basis for the German State’s request for Kenan Ayaz to be handed over to Germany. There is
only the accusation that “the PKK is on the list of terrorist organizations and Kenan Ayaz is a member of the
PKK”. There is no clue as to where, when and how the “terrorist act” attributed to Kenan Ayaz took place. The
decision to arrest Kenan Ayaz and extradite him to Germany stems from the Turkish state’s anti-democratic,
illegal agreement with the German state against the Kurds. As a matter of fact, the local court in Cyprus,
without taking into account Kenan Ayaz’s defense, the human rights situation in Turkey, and his political
approach towards Kurds, decided for his extradition based on the request of the German state. On March 21,
2023, an appeal to the regional court followed a similar approach. The European Court of Human Rights and
the European Convention on Human Rights were not respected. The fact that the court took into account
Germany’s vague and ambiguous statements in the extradition file, such as “suspected since 2018, responsible
for the region”, without even hearing Kenan Ayaz’s defense, is contrary to the legal norms of the United
Nations. The unlawful approach towards Kenan Ayaz started from the moment of his first arrest. By preventing
Kenan Ayaz from appearing before the law and not allowng him to defend himself, the first instance court
denied him the right to an adequate defense and violated his right to a fair trial.
The Court of the Republic of Cyprus acted unlawfully in the prosecution of Kenan Ayaz, violating the rights of a
political person who has taken refuge with it and whose status as a refugee is recognized by its own laws.
Furthermore, it failed to take into account the political relations of the State of Germany with the Republic of
Turkey and Kenan Ayaz’s deportation to Turkey. As a result of all these violations, the State of Cyprus, together
with the State of Germany, has failed to pay due regard to the personal human rights of Kenan Ayaz, in violation
of international law.
The case law of the Court of Justice of the European Union and the Framework Decision of the ECHR as well as
the more general approach to the issue of terrorism required, as in the present case, at least an adequate level
of description of what Kenan Ayaz’s activities were and what his membership of a terrorist organisation
consisted of or what that terrorist organisation was. In no way was Kenan Ayaz linked, even in a loose or general
way, to the PKK to the extent required by the intended content of the ECHR, namely as to the nature and
characteristics of the offence charged, the description of the circumstances of the commission of his
participation and when and where it took place. What the form of his participation in the criminal act and the
elements describing, even remotely, what it is that is aNributed to the accused remained unknown.
The Center for Kurdish Human Rights considers the extradition decision of the Republic of Cyprus against Kenan
Ayaz, a Kurdish political refugee, as a politically motivated decision without any legal basis. That the United
Nations High Commissioner, the Detention Arbitraire Commission and the Rapporteur on the fight against
Torture take the necessary steps to protect the legal and human rights of Kenan Ayaz, including the protection
of the individual rights of Kenan Ayaz before the relevant states, in particular the Republic of Cyprus; We urge
the Federal State of Germany to take the necessary steps to monitor the anti-democratic and unlawful policies
of the Federal Republic of Germany towards the Kurds.
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Email: kurd.chr.geneve[at]gmail.com Web: www.kurd-chr.ch