Jailed HDP co-chair to appear in court for first time in arrest case
The jailed co-chair of the Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) is set to appear in court for the first time in the case that led to his arrest.
Demirtaş' href='/search/Selahattin Demirtaş'>Selahattin Demirtaş will give his defense through the voice and video informatics system (SEGBİS) in the hearing to be held at the Sincan Prison Complex in Ankara on Dec. 7.
The jailed co-chair was arrested on Nov. 4, 2016, on terror charges as part of an investigation carried out by the Diyarbakır Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office, but his case was later sent to the Ankara 19th Heavy Penal Court for security reasons.
But the HDP has criticized being given a courtroom that has the capacity to hold 20 people only.
“The allocated courtroom is one that violates the right to defense. The number of lawyers who will defend Demirtaş is over 1,250. With the allocation, the interference of the lawyers in the case is trying to be prevented,” HDP lawmaker Ayşe Acar Başaran said in a statement released on Dec. 6, adding that the cases and investigations into the co-chair are “clear examples of the politicization of the judiciary.”
Human rights activists and political party representatives from 10 countries will follow the hearing.
A group of ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) lawmakers were also at the complex to follow a separate case into the Fethullahist Terrorist Organization (FETÖ), widely believed to have been behind the July 2016 failed coup attempt.
Yüksekdağ was stripped of her parliamentary status alongside several other HDP deputies on terrorism charges.
Elsewhere, the HDP has hung the summaries of proceedings against its lawmakers around the corridors of the party’s offices in parliament as a form of protest.
“These summaries of proceedings were prepared to dissolve a political movement. We are opening an exhibition of the summaries of proceedings against our lawmakers,” HDP co-chair Serpil Kemalbay told journalists on Dec. 5 before the ribbon-cutting ceremony of the symbolic exhibition.
Meanwhile, a group of activists, lawmakers, journalists and academics penned a letter on Dec. 5 demanding the release of Demirtaş and Yüksekdağ.
Renowned linguist and philosopher Noam Chomsky is among the signatories of the letter demanding “Demirtaş and Yüksekdağ’s immediate and unconditional release from prison.”