Opposition MP says Demirtas does not belong in prison

Main opposition party deputy Sezgin Tanrikulu has said that Selahattin Demirtas, former co-leader of the pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) who has been in jail on terror charges since 2016 does not belong in prison, Gazete Duvar news website reported on Wednesday.

After visiting Demirtas in the Edirne High-Security Prison on Wednesday, Republican People’s Party (CHP) MP Tanrikulu, who is also a human rights lawyer and activist spoke to Gazete Duvar about the visit.

“I was moved when I saw Demirtas. After all, he has been in prison for two-and-a-half years due to unlawful practices. His judicial process was aimed at giving him a politically-motivated punishment. Demirtas does not belong to prison at all,” the MP underlined.

He said the pro-Kurdish leader seemed motivated and healthy during the visit.

“Demirtas has high hopes for the future and he is doing the best he can under jail conditions,” he said.

CHP deputy told Gazete Duvar that he and Demirtas have been friends since the time when he was serving as a lawyer in the southeastern Diyarbakir province.

Tanrikulu became a lawyer in 1986 and was appointed as the head of the Diyarbakir Bar Association in 2002.

“It’s not my place to say what he shared with me politically but Demirtas has a deep connection with politics. He conveys his ideas through his [HDP] party and will continue to do so. He follows all the political developments in Turkey very closely,” Tanrikulu indicated.

The CHP deputy who also saw in prison the former Hakkari deputy from the HDP, Abdullah Zeydan, criticized Turkey’s Justice Minister Abdulhamit Gul for MPs’ obligation to receive permission from the ministry to visit other MPs in jail.

Pointing out that both Gul and Demirtas graduated from the Law School of Turkey’s Ankara University, he said that this requirement does not comply with the education received from that university.

Demirtas was arrested on terror charges as part of an investigation carried out by the Diyarbakır Chief Prosecutor’s Office on November 4, 2016, and has been in prison since then.

His arrest followed the withdrawal of the immunity of 112 Members of Parliament by the Turkish parliament’s general assembly due to over 500 dossiers in 2016.

Although the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) ruled for the release of Demirtas in November 2018, Turkish courts have not implemented that decision.

Turkey hands down lengthy jail terms for pro-Kurdish journalists over terror charges

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