Constitutional Court rejects HDP co-chair Demirtaş’s release request
The Constitutional Court issued its verdict on Dec. 21, rejecting an appeal from arrested People’s Democratic Party (HDP) leader Selahattin Demirtaş that the arrests had been unconstitutional. The verdict was taken after the court voted one to 16.
The high court assessed whether Demirtaş’s right to freedom and security, freedom of expression, right to be elected and right to engage in political activity were violated.
Demirtaş was initially arrested on Nov. 4, 2016 as part of an investigation launched by the chief public prosecutor’s office in the southeastern province of Diyarbakır. The Ankara 19th Criminal Court later took over his case, setting Dec. 7 as the date for his first hearing.
He refused to participate in the hearing in Ankara through the video conference SEGBİS system, insisting on attending the hearing in person, since participating in the hearings through SEGBİS would violate his right to a face-to-face trial.
Demirtaş has been under arrest since Nov. 4, 2016 in a prison in the northwestern province of Edirne and faces hundreds of years in jail over alleged links to the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), as well as other charges.
In addition to HDP co-chair Figen Yüksekdağ, Demirtaş and eight other HDP deputies are also currently under arrest.
Previously on Nov. 16, the court ruled against jailed HDP deputy Gülser Yıldırım’s application for release.