The German prosecutor in the case against Kurdish politician Kenan Ayaz, who is accused of terrorism, has requested a 4.5-year prison sentence, which would be served in Cyprus if imposed.

Ayaz’s lawyers stated that their client would be answering to charges on July 9, 11, and 17, with a court decision expected on July 22. Additional sessions have been scheduled for July 29 and August 19.

Germany is accusing Ayaz for “terrorist action”. He was arrested by Cyprus police on March 15, 2023, and extradited to Germany on June 4, 2023.

The German authorities have indicated that Ayaz would serve any prison sentence in Cyprus.

Ayaz’s legal team, consisting of Cypriot lawyer Efstathios Efstathiou and German lawyers Antonia von der Behrens and Stefan Kun, stated that court procedures in Hamburg are nearly complete. While the prosecutor is advocating for a prison sentence, the defence lawyers are insisting on acquittal.

In court, Efstathiou highlighted the shared experiences of persecution, violence, and Turkish occupation faced by Kurds and Cypriots, explaining Ayaz’s history.

“We have seen that Kenan Ayaz had to learn from a very early age that Kurdish-friendly sentiments are persecuted without mercy in Turkey, and that everyone involved in political activism, which is indeed legal in Turkey, faces a very real risk of torture, mistreatment and imprisonment,” he said.

Efstathiou added that, at an age when life is just starting for many young people, Ayaz witnessed the torture of his 13-year-old brother and experienced torture himself. He was imprisoned at a time when others were building their lives, studying, learning trades and creating families.

The Cypriot lawyer further explained that while in prison, Ayaz repeatedly witnessed and heard of the harsh methods the Turkish state employs to persecute civilian Kurds and the Kurdish movement.

“He became a witness of how the Turkish state tried to shatter the hopes of the Kurdish people for a dignified and self-determined life with equal rights.”

Efstathiou accused the court and the prosecution of “declaring as terrorist acts the exercise of fundamental human rights, such as freedom of assembly, freedom of thought and freedom of expression.”

“If you describe every action of an alleged member of the PKK as terrorism, what do you do with real terrorism, of which the aim is to spread fear and terror, and why do you not describe the harsh and illegal actions of the Turkish army as terrorism?” he asked the court.

He also noted that this German opinion did not convince the Cypriot people, who viewed the Kurdish struggle as an armed conflict and a struggle of the oppressed against the oppressing Turkish regime.