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Protests over Cyprus decision to extradite Kurdish politician to Germany (Updated)

photo christos theodorides kurdish protesters
Demonstrators outside the Supreme Court Photo by Christos Theodorides

Dozens of people on Thursday held a demonstration in front of the supreme court in Nicosia to protest the upcoming extradition of Kurdish activist Kenan Ayaz to Germany.

Ayaz was arrested on March 15 at Larnaca airport on accusations of international terrorism.

His extradition was approved by the Larnaca district court on Wednesday.

Protesters at the demonstration shouted slogans and held placards slamming the Cyprus judiciary, claiming Ayaz’s extradition to Germany “would mean his extradition to Turkey at the same time.”

Throughout the past month, in fact, several supporters of the activist hinted 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.

According to Kurdish cultural organisation “Theophilos”, since 2017 Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan has given Germany a list of almost 4,000 names his administration considers Kurdish terrorists.

In statement released after the protest, the Green party and opposition Akel decried the decision of the Larnaca court to deport Ayaz.

The Green party said that they were will with “sadness, disappointment, and shame” over the court’s decision.

Akel also said that they were disappointed by the decision of the court.

“As it is known, Kenan Ayaz is a recognised political refugee that has been living in Cyprus for ten years, and he was arrested based on a European arrest warrant from Germany, which has requested his extradition,” the statement said.

The party added that behind these machinations by Germany is Turkey, which wants to stifle Kurdish movements.

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