Opposition HDP applies to Euro court over arrest of co-leaders

Opposition HDP applies to Euro court over arrest of co-leaders

Opposition HDP applies to Euro court over arrest of co-leaders

AFP photo

The Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP) has filed an application at the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) regarding the continued arrest of its co-leaders, Selahattin Demirtaş and Figen Yüksekdağ.

“In spite of the established case-law which states that interventions which prevent elected lawmakers from fulfilling their legislative activities negate the power of political representation and its reflection on parliament, the Constitutional Court has not made any investigation during the 95 days of the time the co-leaders have been in jail. For this reason, it has become necessary to submit an application to the ECHR,” the HDP stated on Feb. 20. 

A delegation consisting of deputy leader Saruhan Oluç, group deputy chairperson Filiz Kerestecioğlu and lawmakers Mithat Sancar, Ertuğrul Kürkçü and Osman Baydemir went to Strasbourg to make the application. The delegation was accompanied by the HDP’s European representative, Faik Yağızay. 

In the application, the party argued that the parliamentarians’ detention on remand ahead of the constitutional referendum violated the right to freedom and security, the right to freedom of expression and the right to free choice guaranteed by the Turkish Constitution and the European Convention on Human Rights, the party announcement stated. 

At the moment, a total of 12 HDP lawmakers, including Demirtaş and Yüksekdağ, remain under arrest, facing hundreds of years in jail over alleged links to the outlawed Kurdistan Worker’s Party (PKK). 

The first hearing of Demirtaş, who was taken into custody on Nov. 4, 2016, will be held on April 28, 12 days after the constitutional referendum. He faces trial in over 102 different probes that include charges of “managing a terrorist organization,” “inciting people to violence and hatred” and “praising crime and criminals” and faces over 100 years in jail.

The HDP also said in its application that since July 2016, 5,471 people have been taken into custody and 1,482 people have been arrested within the scope of operations targeting the HDP and its supporters.