A Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) delegation has vowed to continue their “conscience and justice watch” that they initiated outside the Constitutional Court in Ankara, demanding the start of a belated appeal process for the party’s co-chair and other deputies who have been in jail over terror charges.
“The Constitutional Court has a ruling case stating that the lawmakers cannot be tried in jail. At this point, we have been here [at the Constitutional Court] because political authority is an obstacle to the free decision-making of the judicial mechanism and efficient implementation of domestic legal remedies,” Osman Baydemir, the spokesperson of the Kurdish issue-focused party, said Sept. 5.
His comments came after the HDP delegation initiated a sit-in protest at the top court, with demands to have a meeting with Constitutional Court head Zühtü Arslan.
After the meeting, Baydemir said the meeting was “inconclusive,” reiterating their demand for the release of the imprisoned lawmakers.
“In the meeting, we stated that the right to vote and stand for an election has been violated, the judiciary was inculpated, that it is under political pressure and the third biggest party in parliament is facing dissolution,” Baydemir said.
There are currently 10 HDP lawmakers in prison over terror charges, while four elected HDP members, including former co-chair Figen Yüksekdağ, have been stripped of their seats in parliament.
As the co-leaders of the party, along with nine other HDP lawmakers, were arrested on November 2016, the party had appealed to the Constitutional Court on the same month, saying that the imprisonment of lawmakers is a violation of their constitutional rights stemming from being elected as a lawmaker.
The appeal based its plea on a previous ruling of the top court which grounded on Dec. 1, 2013, that the imprisonment of main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) İzmir lawmaker Mustafa Balbay was a violation of the right to freedom in relation to the right to vote and stand for election.
Since the top court has not yet issued the appeal of the HDP for 10 months, Baydemir said they “have not been satisfied” with the meeting with Arslan.
Baydemir said the party will continue their sit-in protest in front of the Constitutional Court building until their demands will be met.
“The will of more than 6 million peoples are imprisoned. Our co-leader, Selahattin Demirtaş, has been in jail for 306 days, however, the first hearing of the case has not been held yet,” he said.
“Until justice is served and the judiciary will declare their ruling with a judicial will, our efforts of conscience and justice will continue,” he vowed.