We would rather wear a shroud than a uniform in court: Imprisoned HDP leader
Selahattin Demirtaş, the imprisoned chairman of the Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) has said he would rather wear a shroud than wear a uniform in court appearances, in response to a new measure that has been imposed by the government.
The recent decree stipulates all suspects charged with certain crimes against the constitution, the state, the parliament and the government shall be brought to court in a uniform of a specific color.
“We would rather wear a shroud than wear a uniform and bow in front of fascism,” Demirtaş said via his lawyers on Dec. 24 from the Edirne Prison, where he has been incarcerated since November 2016 on terror-related charges.
“We will never accept governmental attempts to turn fascism into a permanent governance system through the state of emergency and decree laws,” he said.
The government issued two substantial decrees over the weekend, which included the requirement for terror and coup-related suspects to appear before the court in a single-type uniform of a specific color. The move was initiated after an alleged member of the Fethullahist Terrorist Organization (FETÖ) had appeared before the court with a t-shirt that said “Hero” on it.
Calling this new move a new form of “tyranny,” Demirtaş also stressed it was against universal principles, including the presumption of innocence until proven guilty.
“We do not care whether coup plotters wear this or not. But we will never accept the dishonorable imposition that tens of thousands of political prisoners are equal to coup plotters,” he added.
“I will tear it to pieces and toss the uniform out if it is given to me,” said Demirtaş.
Rapists will be able to stand before the court in a suit and tie and receive time off for good behavior while tens of thousands of academics, politicians, journalists and so on will be forced to wear a uniform, he said.
“We will protect the honor of our people and we will not accept this cruelty,” said Demirtaş.
He also recalled resistances staged by inmates at different prisons in Turkey in the past against impositions and urged the government not to resemble the United States with Guantanamo.
“This is not America nor the Abu Ghraib [prison in Iraq]. No one should play with fire any longer,” said the chairman.