HDP co-chair Demirtaş’s case finally finds court after eight months
ANKARAAn appeals court has resolved a dispute between two different courts on the legal files on jailed Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) Co-Chair Selahattin Demirtaş, a disagreement that meant that the case was not processed for ten months.
The Ankara Regional Court of Appeals ruled that the Ankara 19th Criminal Court should hear the trial of Demirtaş, denying the same court’s request for a merger with the Ankara 2nd Criminal Court.
“The court ruled to remove the merger decision of the Ankara 19th Criminal Court and ruled that the cases should be conducted separately,” the ruling read.
The merger became a matter of dispute after the Ankara 19th Criminal Court requested to merge Demirtaş’s case file, in which he is accused of “establishing and leading a terrorist organization,” “making terrorist propaganda,” and “praising crime and criminals” with another case file at the 2nd court. The case at the 2nd court centers on the killing of 15-year-old Yasin Börü and three others in the southeastern province of Diyarbakır on Oct. 6-8, 2014.
The 19th court had demanded that Demirtaş be held to account for the killing of Börü and three others by merging the files. After the 2nd court rejected the merger the issue was taken to a higher court, the Ankara Regional Court of Appeals.
The decision of the appeals court stated that the allegations in the Börü case should be defined under “abetment” and that Demirtaş should continue to be tried by the Ankara 19th Court.
“As the file at the Ankara 2nd Court was resolved and there is a decision of separation of the case on three defendants in that case, there is no benefit in merging files in this case at this stage,” the court of appeals stated.
The 2nd court in Ankara had in April handed life sentences to 24 of 41 suspects for the murder of four people, including Börü.
The dispute over the case merger had left Demirtaş waiting in pre-trial detention for months, as the court to rule on release or continued detention had not been assigned. The court’s arrest warrant, which must be updated every month, has not been reissued for over two months.
The HDP co-chair has been in jail in the northwestern province of Edirne since Nov. 4, 2016.