Istanbul court rules for Demirtaş to make defense in person
An Istanbul court has ruled that imprisoned Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) co-chair Selahattin Demirtaş should make his defense in person in a case in which he is accused of insulting President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.
Demirtaş was not present in the hearing held at the Bakırköy Courthouse, where the court decided for Demirtaş, who is currently serving time in an F-Type jail in the northwestern province of Edirne, to be brought to the court to make his defense on Oct. 26.
Demirtaş, who is currently serving time in an F-Type jail in the northwestern province of Edirne, was absent from the hearing, which took place on Oct. 26 at Bakırköy Courthouse.
The hundreds of charges against him include having links to outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK). He has said several times since his detention on Nov. 4, 2016 that he wants to make his defense in person during the trial. The court has repeatedly requested that he use only the voice and video informatics system (SEGBİS).
Demirtaş rejected the SEGBİS offers, and the HDP co-chair did not attend a hearing in Ankara on July 7 after refusing to be handcuffed. His party then released a statement saying that “Demirtaş represents the people’s will.”
Meanwhile, the court on Oct. 26 rejected his lawyer’s request for release or abatement.
In just one of the many charges brought against the HDP co-chair and former presidential candidate, Demirtaş faces up to four years and eight months in prison for “insulting and openly humiliating the government of the Turkish Republic, the judicial organs and the military or police,” on basis of a statement he made after completing a trip to Russia on Dec. 24, 2015.
In addition to Demirtaş, former HDP co-chair Figen Yüksekdağ and eight deputies from the HDP are also currently in jail and on trial on terrorism charges.