Remaining three jailed Kurdish lawmakers also freed
DİYARBAKIR - Reuters
BDP's Şırnak MP Selma Irmak embraces her mother after her release from Mardin Prison on Jan 4 following more than three years of detention. AA photoThree Kurdish lawmakers were freed Jan. 4, two days after a Constitutional Court decision that paved the way for the release of two colleagues amid a fragile peace process.
The court rulings go some way to addressing criticism from the European Union and rights groups over Turkey's lengthy detentions for defendants on trial.
A judge in the main southeastern city of Diyarbakır ruled in favor of releasing Peace and Democracy Party (BDP) MPs Selma Irmak and Faysal Sarıyıldız and independent MP Kemal Aktaş after the top court said their imprisonment violated their rights as elected officials and that the duration of their detention was excessive.
Irmak was the first of the three lawmakers to be freed late Jan. 4.
BDP MPs Gülser Yıldırım and İbrahim Ayhan were released on Jan. 3 after more than three years of detention as part of the Kurdish Communities Union (KCK) trial.
All five lawmakers filed individual complaints to Turkey’s top court for their release after a local court refused to grant their freedom two weeks ago.
Their demands for release were rejected even though Republican People’s Party (CHP) lawmaker Mustafa Balbay was freed in similar circumstances last month. Balbay was convicted in the Ergenekon coup case trial, but an appeal process for the case is ongoing.