Solidarity with Sami Baydar and Aramean activists facing persecution in Germany

Solidarity with Sami Baydar and Aramean activists facing persecution in Germany

Samidoun Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network stands in solidarity with political prisoners and detainees in Germany against all forms of repression. The German state’s attacks on Palestinian rights are well-known, including: the four-year ban on Palestinian leftist writer Khaled Barakat; the deportation of Rasmea Odeh, former political prisoner and torture survivor and the prohibition of her event with Dareen Tatour; the passing of an anti-BDS resolution in the Bundestag, the criminal prosecution of Palestinian and Israeli Jewish activists for interrupting a speech by a member of the Knesset, the forced resignation of the director of the Jewish Museum, the closing of the bank account of Jewish Voices for a Just Peace and the disinvitation of international artists who have taken a stand to support Palestinian rights.

However, repression in Germany is far from limited to the assault against Palestinian and Palestine solidarity organizing. Left-wing groups and parties have been repeatedly targeted, especially Turkish and Kurdish organizations. We stand in solidarity with all of the progressive forces politically targeted in Germany, including the “Revolutionary Arameans,” (Süryani Devrimciler) who are facing political charges after protesting the visit of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan to Germany in September 2018.

On 2 October 2018, eight activists were arrested in Bavaria and Baden-Württemberg by state security police, accused of violating the Association Act and carrying the signs of illegal organizations during a the May Day demonstration in 2018. Three of the comrades were already ordered by the Augsburg District Court, on 22 July 2019 and 21 October 2019 to pay 13,000 EUR in fines, with a rate of 40 EUR daily. The activists have lodged a legal appeal against this order.

Specifically, they are accused of carrying the banner of the Revolutionary People’s Liberation Party-Front (DHKP-C), a leftist Marxist-Leninist movement in Turkey. However, the comrades note that they were actually carrying the flag of the Communist Arameans of Mesopotamia, with the hammer, sickle and a star on a red background.

28-year-old Sami Baydar, from Augsburg, has been particularly targeted in this attack. A leftist activist who campaigns for the rights of the Arameans, especially in Turkey, Baydar and his lawyer have repeatedly been denied access to German government files and information about the case. Finally, they were informed that Baydar is facing an investigation under section 129b of the German criminal code – the infamous category that has been used to prosecute and imprison German and international leftists, especially Turkish and Kurdish activists, under the framework of “terrorist organizations abroad.”

Samidoun has joined many organizations in Germany and internationally calling for sections 129a and 129b to be stricken; these provisions are used repeatedly for political ends, with dozens of Turkish and Kurdish activists imprisoned by the German state. The provisions were introduced in 2002 in the post-September 11 promotion of “anti-terror” laws and, since 2008, they have been used repeatedly against leftist organizations and activists.

One activist was sentenced to 26 months of imprisonment for selling concert tickets for a German concert by Grup Yorum, a political band whose members are also subjected to political repression and imprisonment inside Turkey. In many of these cases, “evidence” used has included confessions obtained under torture in Turkey.

The echoes of this ongoing repression is also to be found in the justifications used to ban Khaled Barakat from the country, to deport Rasmea Odeh and to repress Palestinian and Palestine solidarity activism. In these cases as well, the German state seeks to arrogate to itself the ability to strip the rights of oppressed people to resist, depending on its alliance with the state oppressing them. Israeli allegations, including false confessions extracted through torture or dubious propaganda campaigns, are repeated as fact.

The German state has worked hand in hand with the Turkish state in persecuting leftists, including many former political prisoners in Turkish jails who had initially sought refuge in Europe. This reflects the imperialist NATO alliance binding these countries together and the threat it poses to all peoples struggling for justice, in Palestine, Syria, Turkey and even within Europe itself. Similarly, the alliance between Germany and Israel is an alliance in the persecution and repression of Palestinians, both inside and outside occupied Palestine. Germany sells a wide range of arms and weaponry to the Turkish state – used to persecute Turks and Kurds as well as to invade and occupy Syria – just as it provided nuclear-capable submarines to Israel and has continued to do so, enhancing the nuclear threat in the region.

Despite this repression, these activists have continued to stand with their fellow political prisoners and targets of repression in Germany and around the world. In a speech in Munich calling for freedom for Müslüm Elma, a political prisoner from Turkey in Germany, Baydar spoke on behalf of the Aramean People’s Council to also demand freedom for political prisoners like Ahmad Sa’adat, the imprisoned General Secretary of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, held in Zionist jails and Georges Ibrahim Abdallah, the Lebanese Arab struggler for Palestine imprisoned in France for 35 years.

Samidoun Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network expresses its strongest solidarity with Sami Baydar and all of the “Revolutionary Arameans” facing repression, heavy fines, political investigations and the threat of imprisonment in Germany. The criminalization of solidarity, activism and liberation struggles threatens the Palestinian movement in Germany, and these same policies have been used to wage an intense attack on Kurdish, Turkish and Aramean strugglers for justice. We see the alliance between imperialist, racist, capitalist, fascist, Zionist and reactionary forces to suppress popular movements, and our mutual solidarity is critical to fight back against and defeat that repression.

We urge the immediate release of all political prisoners in German, Greek, European and Turkish jails and the striking of paragraphs 129a and 129b, which serve as weapons for the criminalization of liberation struggles, and we demand an end to the political charges against the “Revolutionary Arameans.” Long live international solidarity!

Background information:

“Who are the REVOLUTIONARY ARAMEANS?

On the occasion of the 100th anniversary of the 1915 Aramaic genocide in Turkey, intellectual Aramaic Turks from Tur Abdin joined forces and in 2015 the popular movement REVOLUTIONARY ARAMAEANS (Aramaic: Suryoye Qauwonye) was founded in Midyat.

In 2017, the socialist October Revolution of 1917 was remembered for 100 years by the REVOLUTIONARY ARAMAEANS, who founded the organization “Communist Aramaeans of Mesopotamia”.

Since 2019, the movement has been a member of the Anti-Imperialist Front (Anti-Emperyalist Cephe).”