A Turkish court on Friday overruled a request to release the former co-leader of the pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP), despite a European rights court ruling that the top Kurdish leader’s imprisonment was politically motivated.
Demirtas’ defence lawyers submitted a petition based on the Strasbourg-based European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) ruling of 20th of September. ECHR urged Turkey to speedily process Demirtas’ legal case by saying that his pre-trial detention had gone on longer than could be defensible.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has directed judiciary by saying, “The decisions delivered by the ECHR do not bind us.” The Turkish Court’s decision is likely to cause more tension between Ankara and the Council of Europe, the body that oversees the ECHR. Turkey has been a member of Council of Europe since 1950.
According to Turkish legal sources, the decision by the ECHR is not final and therefore Demirtas’ release cannot be concluded.
A member of Demirtas’ legal team, Ramazan Demir harshly criticised the court’s ruling.
He made a statement on Twitter by saying that he cannot respect the decision of the court as the court does not implement the rule of law.
Selahattin Demirtas who has been detained for 24 months, stated on Twitter, “The panel of judges who thought that they were judging me, had clearly stated that since the first day of the trial, they did not follow laws and acts illegal.
How can I call the court which does not implement laws? I don’t know how these prosecutors and judges will face me at my 12th December trial in which I will be present in the dock in Ankara. They should wait for me. I will be ready to tell them something on my mind”.
“Ankara 19th High Criminal Court ruled to continue the detention of Demirtas despite ECHR’s ruling that his detention was not lawful. The court applied to the Justice Ministry by stating that ECHR’s decision is not final. No definition of this disgrace” Demirtas’ team added.
Demirtas was arrested in November 2016 on charges of “leading a terrorist organization.” He was HDP’s presidential candidate on July 24 election in 2018. Demirtas faces up to 142 years if the court finds him guilty on the charges of his alleged links to PKK, the armed organization took up arms in 1984 against the Turkish state for independent Kurdish state.