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Supporters of Kenan Ayaz go on hunger strike demanding his release

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

Seven Kurds and three Cypriots went on hunger strike on Friday at a site near the Supreme Court in Nicosia to demand the release of Kenan Ayaz, who is being held in the Central Prisons for his alleged involvement in a terrorist attack.

Ayaz was arrested at Larnaca Airport on March 15, 2023 following a warrant issued by Germany, while on his way to visit his family in Sweden.

Since April 19, he has been at the central prisons in Nicosia awaiting a decision on his appeal against the decision to extradite him to Germany.

Ayaz began an indefinite hunger strike on Thursday, demanding that he not be extradited to Germany and released.

“When yesterday’s visit of his friends ended, Ayaz was transferred to a special small isolation cell, and was deprived of the right to visits and phone calls,” according to a statement from the Kurdistan Cultural Centre “Theophilos”.

According to the Cyprus News Agency (Cna), the Commissioner for Administration, will examine the decision to transfer Ayaz to an isolation cell and the deprivation of visits and communication.

In statements to the Cna, the representative of the Kurdistan Cultural Centre “Theophilos” Lambros Kallenos said that the hunger strike was initially in front of the Supreme Court but after police intervention the strikers were moved to a nearby venue and were forbidden to have a tent.

“We are making this hunger strike in support of the Kurdish fighter Kenan Ayaz who is in prison and on hunger strike, asking to be released and not extradited to Germany,” Kallenos said.

“We demand that Kenan Ayaz not be extradited because he will end up in Turkey. Germany has been an ally with Turkey for decades. We cannot give credit to the guarantees they give. In Turkey, Ayaz is awaiting a 36-year prison sentence and his life will certainly be in danger,” Kallenos noted.

“As Cypriots, we say that it is inconceivable that Cyprus would cooperate in such an extradition of a fighter who participated in the Kurdish struggle. He is not accused of anything specific that you can say is terrorism. He simply took part in seminars at a university in Germany, published a book, gave speeches. This is not terrorism,” he added.

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