Die Linke deputy Özdemir to appeal PKK case sentence

Hamburg State Assembly Die Link Group co-chair Cansu Özdemir was sentenced to pay a fine of 4500 Euros for sharing a tweet titled "Lift the ban on PKK" featuring a PKK flag on her social media accounts.

Cansu Özdemir, co-chair of the Hamburg Die Linke Group, shared a tweet on the anniversary of the ban on the PKK's activities in Germany writing "Lift the ban on the PKK" and publishing a photo of the PKK flag.

Özdemir was opened an investigation against for violating the ban on PKK symbols. She was sentenced by the local court to pay a fine of 500 euros. Özdemir did not pay the fine which increased to 1500 euros.

The case of the Die Linke parliamentarian, who appealed the sentence, was heard at Hamburg-Altona Administrative Court.

During the hearing followed by a large crowd, Özdemir pointed out that she did not commit any crime when asking for the lifting of the PKK ban.

Özdemir's lawyer Alexander Kienzle said that her client shared the PKK flag within the framework of a campaign that has been going on for years. However, at the end of the hearing, the court sentenced Özdemir to pay a fine of 4500 Euros, claiming that she had violated the Law on Associations.

The Die Linke deputy had to donate 1000 euro to a charity while the Court  suspended the sentence but said that if Özdemir committed the same "crime" within two years, she would have to pay the fine.

Özdemir said that she would appeal the decision of the court and added that she would continue to demand for the "PKK ban to be lifted" and insisted that the German state's criminalization policy towards Kurdish symbols should now come to an end.

Several investigations against those who share the symbols of the Kurdish liberation movement have been opened in the last two years.

The investigations are based on a circular issued by the Ministry of Interior on 16 March 2017 in 16 German states. The circular prohibited photographs of Kurdish People's Leader Abdullah Öcalan as well as YPG, YPJ, PYD, and symbols of the Kurdish freedom movement.