Turkish top court rules in favor of two jailed Kurdish lawmakers’ demand for release
In a ruling last July, the Constitutional Court said lengthy pre-trial detentions are 'unconstitutional' and breached ECHR criteria. DAILY NEWS photoThe Constitutional Court has ruled in favor of a complaint filed by two jailed Kurdish lawmakers Jan. 2 on the grounds that their detention violated the rights of an elected person and was excessive in duration.
The two deputies, İbrahim Ayhan and Gülser Yıldırım of the Peace and Democracy Party (BDP), were detained as part of the Kurdish Communities Union (KCK) trial.
Five jailed Kurdish lawmakers - BDP deputies Ayhan, Yıldırım, Selma Irmak and Faysal Sarıyıldız, as well as BDP-supported independent deputy Kemal Aktaş – 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.
The Constitutional Court declared on Jan. 3 its decisions on the applications of Yıldırım and Ayhan. The applications of the other three lawmakers are still being reviewed.
The court also accepted the compensation demands, ordering the payment of 3,000 Turkish Liras in emotional damages for each lawmaker.
The rejection of the five lawmakers’ release by the Diyarbakır courts sparked a debate on whether the release of Balbay should set a precedent for their cases as the BDP denounced “a double standard,” labeling it “political hostage-taking.”
Sentenced to 34 years and eight months in prison at the Ergenekon trial, Balbay was released after the top court ruled that his conviction violated the rights of an elected person and their electors on Dec. 4, 2013.
A recent ruling of the Constitutional Court said long detentions were “unconstitutional” on the basis of the European Court of Human Right’s jurisprudence on the matter.