Last Update 1:6
Thursday, 27 June 2019

Turkey court orders Kurdish leader to remain in custody

AFP , Thursday 13 Dec 2018
People arrive at the courthouse in Ankara to attend the hearing of the pro-Kurdish party Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP) former co-leader Selahattin Demirtas, on December 12, 2018 (Photo: AFP)
Views: 2248
Views: 2248

A Turkish court on Thursday ordered the continued detention of Kurdish politician Selahattin Demirtas despite a European rights court ruling calling for his release, an official from his political party said.

The European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) last month lambasted the pre-trial detention of Demirtas, former co-chief of the pro-Kurdish Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP), as politically motivated.

Demirtas had previously run against President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and has been viewed as a potential rival.

The 45-year-old remains an influential figure in the Kurdish movement.

"He (Demirtas) will be kept behind bars," a HDP official, who did not wish to be named, told AFP after the hearing on Thursday.

Demirtas has been in pre-trial detention since November 2016, accused of managing a "terrorist organisation", making "terrorist propaganda" and "inciting others to commit crimes". He risks up to 142 years in jail if he is found guilty.

During the hearing on Wednesday, Demirtas denounced what he considered a "political trial" and said he was a "political hostage".

Erdogan regularly accuses the HDP of being a political front for the outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK), which has been waging an insurgency since 1984 and is considered a terror group by Ankara and its Western allies.

But even if Demirtas was released on Thursday, he would have to remain in jail since he has been sentenced to four years and eight months for "terrorist propaganda" in another case.

A Turkish court upheld the conviction on December 4 after his lawyers made an appeal.

Ramazan Demir, a lawyer for Demirtas, told AFP that the decision to keep him in detention after the ECHR called for the politician to be released was a "legal scandal".

"It is in defiance of the ECHR," Demir added.

The trial will resume on January 23-25, the official said.

Short link:


Ahram Online welcomes readers' comments on all issues covered by the site, along with any criticisms and/or corrections. Readers are asked to limit their feedback to a maximum of 1000 characters (roughly 200 words). All comments/criticisms will, however, be subject to the following code
  • We will not publish comments which contain rude or abusive language, libelous statements, slander and personal attacks against any person/s.
  • We will not publish comments which contain racist remarks or any kind of racial or religious incitement against any group of people, in Egypt or outside it.
  • We welcome criticism of our reports and articles but we will not publish personal attacks, slander or fabrications directed against our reporters and contributing writers.
  • We reserve the right to correct, when at all possible, obvious errors in spelling and grammar. However, due to time and staffing constraints such corrections will not be made across the board or on a regular basis.

© 2010 Ahram Online.