Court has no right to take any action against me: HDP co-chair Demirtaş
AFP photoOne of the co-chairs of the Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) has appeared in court for the first time since his capture in early November, saying the courts have no right to take any action regarding him as his authority to represent the public was forcefully taken from him.
HDP co-chair Selahattin Demirtaş also said his immunity should not be ignored.
“The court cannot take any precautions against me even if I reject giving my testimony or don’t show up at the courthouse,” Demirtaş, who was arrested on Nov. 4, told a Turkish court via a teleconference on Nov. 25.
“With the regulations, immunity remains in force after May 20 [when it was lifted regarding earlier alleged crimes]. Even if it works at a snail’s pace, the division of powers is essential in our country. No power has the right to control another power. A judicial authority can’t prevent a legislative member with immunity from making legislation,” he told the court.
Demirtaş is currently being held in a prison in the western province of Edirne although the trial was held in the southeastern province of Mardin.
A number of HDP lawmakers participated in the hearing, in which Demirtaş is being tried for “humiliating the Turkish parliament, republic and Turkishness.” HDP lawmakers Osman Baydemir and Meral Danış Beştaş participated in the hearing as witnesses and other HDP lawmakers participated as members of the audience.
Arguing that the court overlooked immunity that continued after May 20, Demirtaş noted that there is no difference between himself and the lawmakers in the parliament in terms of immunity.
During his defense, Demirtaş said being 1,700 kilometers away from the courtroom would not result in a fair trial.
“Some of my lawyers are with me and some of them are in the courtroom. It’s impossible for me to exchange information with my lawyers this way,” he said, adding that the speech presented in the indictment belonged to him.
“It’s not clear when I humiliated being a Turk, the Turkish Republic or Turkish parliament because there is no humiliation against Turkish nation or Turkish parliament, which I am a part of, in my speech. My speech consists of criticisms and calls for the government under former Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu. I think, at this stage, an acquittal decision should be given,” he told the court.
Noting that the immunities were lifted retrospectively, Demirtaş said they did not make any move to escape from prosecution.
Ten HDP lawmakers, including co-chairs Demirtaş and Figen Yüksekdağ, were arrested in a probe launched against 14 of the party’s deputies over alleged links to the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK).