Parliament Speaker denies HDP co-chair Demirtaş’s request to link up to parliamentary group

Parliament Speaker denies HDP co-chair Demirtaş’s request to link up to parliamentary group

Parliament Speaker denies HDP co-chair Demirtaş’s request to link up to parliamentary group


Parliament Speaker İsmail Kahraman denied imprisoned co-chair of People’s Democratic Party (HDP) Selahattin Demirtaş’s request to be connected to the HDP group meeting from prison via an audio visual informatics system (SEGBİS).

“Our office does not have a procedure [of your concern] under the related legislation since your request falls into the responsibility of judiciary,” a written response to Demirtaş’s request read on Aug. 24. 

Demirtaş had issued a petition to the Parliamentary Speaker’s Office on July 18 demanding to address his party group from prison via audio-visual information technology (SEGBİS).

“As co-chair of the HDP, the third largest party in the parliament, and a group leader, I want to connect to our parliamentary group meeting, which is a part of the 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 Speaker’s Office on July 18.

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 2016, 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’s 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 in parliamentary activities,” Osman Baydemir, the spokesperson of the HDP said on July 18 in a parliamentary group meeting.

“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.

The Parliamentary Speaker’s Office stated that written communication or phone conversation rights of inmates are regulated either by public prosecutors, judges or the related courts depending on the procedure. 

“No authority can instruct courts or judges. Your request falls within the jurisdiction of the judiciary,” the office wrote.