Jailed HDP co-leader wants to address parliament through video conference
ANKARAThe imprisoned co-leader of the Kurdish-issue focused People’s Democratic Party (HDP), Selahattin Demirtaş, issued a petition to the Parliamentary Speaker’s Office to address his party group from prison via audio-visual information technology (SEGBİS) as a response to the Justice Ministry’s defense to the top court.
“As a co-leader of the HDP, the third largest party in the parliament, and a group leader, I want to link up to our parliamentary group meeting, which is a part of parliament’s legislative and auditory duties, from prison via SEGBİS; and hence, I request to address my parliamentary group,” Demirtaş wrote in an official letter to the Parliamentary Speakers’ Office on July 18.
“I also request all imprisoned HDP lawmakers to participate in the group meetings via SEGBİS,” Demirtaş added.
His petition came after the Justice Ministry had issued their defense to the Constitutional Court after the party had appealed to the top court on Nov. 16 arguing the imprisonment of the lawmakers is a violation of their constitutional rights stemming from being elected as a lawmaker.
“The applicant is still a lawmaker and their imprisonment does not have an influence over their deputyship.
In other words, their imprisonment does not mean foreclosure of their deputyship,” wrote the defense.
“Apart from the actual circumstances as a natural consequence of being imprisoned, all their rights coming from their deputyship continues,” the defense added.
The HDP argued that the ministry’s defense is equivalent to stating that the HDP lawmaker’ imprisonment does not stand as an obstacle for them to participate in legislative activities.
“[The ministry says] their imprisonment is not an obstacle for them to practice their duties as lawmakers, to participate parliamentary activities,” Osman Baydemir, the spokesperson of the HDP said on July 18 in a parliamentary group.
“If there is no obstacle for Demirtaş to perform his duties as a lawmaker and to participate in parliamentary activities, then the parliament’s speaker should immediately do what is necessary,” he said.
“He is the co-leader, he should be addressing the group from here,” he added.
The party re-instated their appeal to the top court with a sit-in demonstration on June 16 criticizing the top court for not settling the case.
“The Constitutional Court should settle the case and announce their ruling,” Baydemir reiterated the party’s stance.
The party had also brought the issue up to European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) and the European Court had marked the case of the HDP lawmakers as “urgent” and demanded the Turkish government to give statements on the arrest of the deputies on July 17.