Prokurdish activist shared flat stormed: search because of a post

Police storm an apartment in Bavaria because of a Facebook post of a Kurdish flag. A left-wing activist is under investigation.

YPG flags in Qamishli, Syria Photo: reuters

At six o’clock in the morning on Thursday, around ten police officers from the Bavarian police’s Support Command (USK) raided a shared apartment in Munich. One of the residents, left-wing activist Benjamin Russ, is under investigation because he posted a photo of the flag of the PKK-affiliated militia, YPG, on Facebook.

The Interior Ministry suspects the YPG of being a successor to the outlawed PKK Workers’ Party. The Kurdish militia is fighting IS in Syria and in one case has even cooperated with Germany’s Federal Intelligence Service, Bayerischer Rundfunk reported. The U.S. supports the group with weapons supplies.

Russ told the taz that he had put the YPG flag on Facebook in March 2017 in protest against a change in the license plate ban. "Just a moment ago, the Kurds were heroes in the fight against the cruel IS and suddenly they are enemies of the German state."

The German Interior Ministry had added the YPG symbol – a triangular yellow flag with a red star – to the list of banned PKK-related symbols on March 2. The Workers’ Party has been banned in Germany since 1993, and the list has been constantly updated since then to include symbols that were newly added.

The policemen threatened to break the door of the apartment

Russ, who has been campaigning against the PKK ban for three years, has known since May that police were investigating him for a violation of the ban on the association. At the time of the raid, he was in Greece, with only his roommates in the apartment. The policemen threatened to break down the door and "besieged" all the rooms, although there was only a warrant against Russ, says one of the roommates. It was as if they were all under suspicion: "Our roommate was only allowed to go to the bathroom with the door open. A humiliation."

Police confiscated electronic devices and left the apartment after an hour. A spokesman for the Munich police told the taz that only Russ’ room was searched, the others were only entered for security reasons. He could not confirm that the roommate was forbidden to close the door when going to the toilet.

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