Cyprus Mail

Kurds hold demo over Syria killings (Updated)

File photoPhoto: Christos Theodorides

Kurdish people living in Cyprus staged a demonstration in front of the interior ministry on Friday condemning the killing of four Kurds in northwest Syria earlier this week.

Turkey-backed fighters of the Ahrar al-Sharqiya armed militia opened gunfire on a Kurdish family celebrating in Jindires on Monday, killing at least four people and wounding two others. They were celebrating Kurdish New Year, Newroz.

In Nicosia, demonstrators were mostly people from the Autonomous Administration of North and East Syria, also known as Rojava, a de facto autonomous region that includes the regions of Afrin, Jazira, Euphrates and Raqqa.

Later on Friday, the group was set to demonstrate in front of the EU office in the capital, before delivering a letter to the US embassy demanding action following the killings.

In the afternoon, representatives of the protesting Kurds were to meet with a United Nations Peacekeeping Mission in Cyprus (Unficyp) spokesperson and a representative of the French embassy.

Meanwhile, the trial of Kurdish politician Kenan Ayaz that was set to continue on Friday in Larnaca was postponed to March 27 in order for his lawyer, Efstathios Efstathiou, to have time to examine some documents he is yet to receive from the Ayslum Service.

Ayaz, who has been living in Cyprus for 10 years as a political refugee, was arrested on March 15 at Larnaca airport on accusations of international terrorism stemming from Germany. He was about to board a flight.

Efstathiou issued a witness summons for representatives of the asylum service in order to present evidence to the court. However, the service refused the summons, as the lawyer said in a statement released on Friday.

“We deem the asylum service’s refusal to appear in front of the court unacceptable,” he said.

He then added that it will take the service at least two days to prepare the files he requested for the trial.

On his part, state prosecutor Vassilis Bisas said that he requested some clarifications from the German authorities regarding Awaz’s extradition request.

In the meantime, he will remain in custody.

Last Monday, members of the Kurdish cultural organisation Theophilos staged a demonstration in the front of the justice ministry to protest his arrest and trial.

The organisation also released a statement, calling the arrest politically motivated.

“Should the court approve Ayaz’s extradition request to Germany, he will likely be sent from there to Turkey, where he is set to face a very long prison sentence,” the statement said.




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