ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) - A Turkish court on Friday sentenced German citizen Patrick Kraicker to six years and three months for alleged membership of the People’s Protection Units (YPG), reports Deutsche Welle.
Moreover, he received a further suspended sentence of one year and eight months in jail for entering a military exclusion zone.
Kraicker, 29, contended that he was on a hiking trip when he was arrested on March 14 in the Silopi district of southeast of Turkey. Turkish authorities claim to have found an email that Kraicker sent to the Kurdish People's Protection Unit (YPG), reported ARD.
The case was based on the testimony of his cellmate, who allegedly recognized the German citizen.
The witness claimed to have seen Kraicker in a YPG uniform working as a doctor at a hospital in Syria in January this year. There was no evidence presented in the indictment, however, that shows that he had traveled to Syria, reported Deutsche Welle.
Family members and friends say that he was convicted for no legitimate reason and his lawyer said he is planning on appealing the Turkish court's sentence.
The Kurdish Community in Germany, an organization representing Kurds living in the country, condemned the sentence. They claimed that the only evidence the conviction was based on is that he was present alone in the Kurdish border areas, where he was on a hiking holiday.
Moreover, the organization the German citizen neither politically active in the social media nor in Germany, nor was he pro-Kurdish, nor was he ever in Syria and Iraq as claimed, nor he ever served in the German army.
"Obviously, staying alone in the Kurdish areas is sufficient to be arrested and sentenced as a terrorist supporter," Mehmet Tanriverdi, co-leader of the Kurdish Community in Germany said.
The organization said the case shows the unfair justice system in Turkey and shows that Turkey is trying to use foreign citizens as hostages to gain concessions from European states.
“In this case, too, it becomes clear that German foreign policy is unable to protect its citizens from the unjust regime in Turkey,” the Kurdish Community in Germany said.
He added that was not only shocking, but also humiliating for Germany since German Economy Minister Peter Altmaier just made a two-day visit to Turkey with a 30-person business delegation to make deals in Ankara on the same day the German citizen was sentenced.
It is not the first time Turkey has sentenced foreigners based on their alleged membership in the YPG.
Hundreds of foreign volunteers joined the YPG and other Peshmerga forces to fight against the so-called Islamic state in Syria and Iraq.
Last year Turkey sentenced two Czech nationals for their alleged YPG membership, who were arrested during a holiday to Turkey and British national Joseph Robinson was ordered jailed for more than seven years in September.
Editing by John J. Catherine