A present to Erdogan: Switzerland extradites Kurdish activist Metin A. – on hunger strike for 50 days – to German authorities

The Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan had hardly left Germany, had barely ended amicable talks with the German Chancellor Angela Merkel about the joint struggle against the PKK, when the theory was immediately put into practice.

On 1st November, the Swiss justice ministry extradited the Kurdish activist Metin A. to Germany, and this was despite the fact that the Kurd had been on hunger strike for over 50 days, with serious health consequences. He is now in the prison hospital at Stuttgart-Stammheim auf dem Hohenasperg, where he is at least taking some liquids once again, which he had strictly refused in Switzerland.

Today an arrest warrant was issued for him. Due to a request by the federal prosecution, Metin A. was put in detention pending extradition in Switzerland in May last year. The federal prosecution accused the 34 year-old of membership to the “foreign terrorist” organisation PKK (Article 129b of the penal code); the authorization to pursue punishment for this offence was issued by the Ministry of Justice on 19th April 2011.

Since March 2008, the Kurdish activist has been responsible for a branch of the “Komalen Ciwan” (KC) youth organisation for the regions of Berlin and Bremen, and in this role he organised demonstrations and educational events, as well as distributing propaganda material. Also, according to the accusations, he took part in training sessions in Germany and abroad and recruited youths to join the guerrillas “in the mountains”. At the start of 2010, Metin A. took up a leading position where he had wide-ranging powers to direct and make decisions.

Such was also the outcome for two other Kurdish activists Mehmet A. and Ridvan O., who were confronted with the accusation according to article 129b of the penal code at the higher regional court in Stuttgart on 13th September.

In fear of political persecution if extradited to Germany, Metin A. applied for asylum during his imprisonment in Switzerland, which has not been decided upon yet. Nevertheless he was extradited! AZADI is of the opinion that this is an unlawful act. This process is certainly extraordinary and a violation of human rights.

According to his defence lawyer in Switzerland, the lawyer has not been informed about the condition of Metin A.’s health, nor has he been allowed to see and speak to his client prior to his extradition.

These appalling acts line up in a long list of arbitrary violations of the law and human rights, of political persecution and intolerable bullying of the Kurds.

For almost the last two decades, there has not been a single contribution on the part of German policy towards the resolution of the Turkish-Kurdish conflict. On the contrary: Germany has positioned itself aggressively on the Turkish side and supports the war against the Kurdish people and freedom movement, against opposition members, human rights activists, journalists, politicians, MPs, children and teenagers.

AZADI demands an inquiry into this extradition trial, the immediate release of Metin A. and of all prisoners who are in prison because of German political interests and because of traditionally strong relations between Germany and Turkey – especially their military and economic interests. We also demand the lifting of the ban on PKK activity imposed in 1993, which is the root cause of the repression, unfairness and persecution. The criminalisation of the Kurds and their political activities must finally come to an end!

Azadi e.V., 2 November 2012
Rechtshilfefonds (Legal advocacy/advise) for Kurds in Germany

Translated from German by PIK, UK