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Demirtas slams Ankara court for ignoring ECHR ruling

  2021-03-17  | 
 Zhyan News Network
Undated photo, pro-Kurdish Peoples' Democratic Party, (HDP) former co-leader Selahattin Demirtas, writes a letter whilst being in prison in Turkey. Demirtas has been in jail in Turkey since November 2016. Photo by HDP handout via Zhyan English
 Zhyan News Network


SULAIMANI – Imprisoned Kurdish politician Selahattin Demirtas has slammed a court in Ankara for flouting a recent ruling by European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) for his immediate release.

On December 22, The Grand Chamber of the ECHR said Demirtas - who is charged with terrorism-related offences -
had had his rights violated under five different categories, including freedom of expression and liberty.

"I would like to congratulate the court for its courage. The ECHR has also certified your efforts. We were from the HDP. We were the Co-Chairs of a party. We engaged in politics with an open identity. We did not hide ourselves. You also engaged in politics, but you felt the need to hide it," Demirtaş said during a virtual court hearing on Tuesday (March 16) according to Binaet.

"But it is not the case for us. There are severe rulings handed down by national and international courts. For this reason, it is our right to demand that the related ruling be appended to records," he said.

Demirtas has been in jail since November 2016 over charges imposed by the Turkish authorities for alleged links to the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), outlawed and considered Kurdish opposition  by Ankara to be a terrorist organization.

He faces a sentence of up to 142 years in prison if convicted of being the leader of a “terrorist organization” over his actions during protests in 2014 that turned violent and led to the deaths of 37 people. He denies any wrongdoing.

PKK has started an armed struggle against Turkey for Kurds’ cultural rights since 1984.

Demirtas called on the court to put off the hearing until July 2023 after the Turkish presidential elections in Turkey, but the court board has adjourned the hearing until April 14, according to Bianet.

"You have not yet read out the ECHR judgment. We request that you conclude our requests. Ask the Justice Ministry for the ECHR judgment and, when the judgment is added to the case file, give a ruling that will ensure that the violation is identified and eliminated by the court,” his attorney Mahsuni Karaman said. 

On December 9, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said that Demirtas could not from Turkey’s newly-declared judicial “reforms” due to his alleged involvement in deadly incidents.

“I am definitely not allowed to intervene with the affairs of the judiciary, but let everyone know that we are not going to protect the so-called rights of a terrorist, especially one like Selahattin Demirtas,” Erdogan said at the time as reported by Turkish state-owned Anadolu Agency (AA). 

"Erdoğan declared that my rights would not be protected. And you also started by declaring it. Thus, I congratulate you. I congratulate you on your obvious attitude of violation. You need to be congratulated because you have added extremely grave violations of rights to Turkey,” Demirtas said during the hearing. 

(Zhyan English)