The Council of Europe’s body calls for the release of Leyla Güven

The Council of Europe’s body calls for the release of Leyla Güven

The Council of Europe’s body calls for the release of Leyla Güven

DHA Photo

A body from the Council of Europe said the detentions of local elected representatives constituted “a serious obstacle to the democratic process in Turkey” and demanded the release of Viranşehir Mayor Leyla Güven and other such officials in a report on March 26.

The Congress of Local and Regional Authorities examined a report on the situation of Leyla Güven, mayor of Viranşehir district of the southeastern Şanlıurfa province under detention since 2009 and other local elected representatives in detention in Turkey at a meeting on March 26 in Strasbourg.

Following their second visit to Güven in the Diyarbakir prison on Dec. 7, 2013, the Congress rapporteurs, Anders Knape, Sweden (L, EPP/CCE) and Leen Verbeek, Netherlands (R, SOC) pointed out that 15 mayors, 23 deputy mayors and dozens of municipal councilors had been in remand detention for years – an unprecedented situation in the Council of Europe member states, while Turkey was preparing to hold new local elections on March 30.

“We invite the Turkish authorities to apply the same standards and principles to local elected politicians as it does to its members of Parliament, and therefore to release Leyla Güven and all the Turkish locally elected representatives who find themselves in a similar situation” said Leen Verbeek.

Since 2010, the Bureau of the Congress has examined the situation of Leyla Güven at every one of its meetings.

“Leyla Güven was arrested Dec. 29, 2009 while she was mayor of Viranşehir and a member of the Congress. More than four years later, she is still in detention. She has been on trial since 2010, with no end to her trial in sight,” said Knape. “Such detentions constitute a serious obstacle to the democratic process in Turkey and also raises serious questions about the rule of law and the protection of human rights in this country,” he added.

The rapporteurs also noted that as a result of a recent ruling of the Turkish Constitutional Court, all the members of the Turkish Grand National Assembly who had been detained in similar circumstances and for the same reasons as Güven had now been freed.