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Cyprus to extradite Kurdish political activist to Germany

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File photo: Kurds protest Germany’s extradition request of political activist (Photo: Christos Theodorides)

Germany’s request for the extradition of Kenan Ayaz, a 49-year-old Kurdish political activist arrested on March 15 at Larnaca airport on accusations of international terrorism, was approved by the Larnaca district court on Wednesday.

Throughout the past month, supporters of Ayaz have demonstrated against his arrest. Many of them claimed that his extradition to Germany would pave the way for a further extradition to Turkey, considering the existing cooperation between the two countries.

While reading the verdict on Wednesday, the president of the Larnaca district court Michalis Papathanasiou said that “no evidence presented before the court pointed to a further extradition of Ayaz to Turkey from Germany.”

Papathanasiou also added that, given the activist’s concerns, the Larnaca court requested Germany not to proceed with a further extradition to Turkey.

Ayaz has been living in Cyprus for ten years as a political refugee. Following his arrest last month, members of the Kurdish cultural organisation “Theophilos” staged a demonstration in the front of the justice ministry, holding placards reading “Kenan is not a terrorist”, “Cyprus stop deporting Kurds” and “Freedom to Kenan Ayaz”, among others.

A delegation from the organisation also met the justice ministry’s director general Louie Panayi during the demonstration.

After the meeting, a member of the delegation, Suleiman Taman, told journalists that Panayi gave him reassurances regarding Ayaz’s right of a fair trial.

According to the organisation, since 2017 Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has given Germany a list of almost 4,000 names his administration considers Kurdish terrorists.

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