The European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) pronounced its judgement on Peoples' Democratic Party's (HDP) former imprisoned Co-Chair Selahattin Demirtaş today (November 20).
The ECtHR has ruled that all necessary measures shall be adopted to put an end to the pre-trial detention of Demirtaş, who has been behind bars in the Edirne Type F Prison for 2 years. The court has also sentenced Turkey to pay 25 thousand Euro in total in pecuniary and non-pecuniary damages.
Benan Molu and Ramazan Demir, attorneys of Selahattin Demirtaş, have stated, "This being the case, Demirtaş should be released immediately."
In its judgement, the ECtHR has also emphasized that "any continuation of the applicant's pre-trial detention" will entail a prolongation of the stated violations and "a breach of the obligations on Turkey to abide by the Court's judgment in accordance with Article 46 § 1 of the Convention."
"His right to a free election has been violated"
His attorneys have detailed the judgement as follows:
"The court has ruled that the Article 3 of the Protocol No. 1 of the European Convention on Human Rights has been violated, considering that Selahattin Demirtaş was unable to take part in the activities of legislature or perform any parliamentary duties from the start of his pre-trial detention on November 4, 2016 until the expiry of his term for office on June 24, 2018.
"The court has also ruled that there has been a violation of the Article no. 5/3, considering that the courts in Turkey did not convincingly demonstrate why Demirtaş should be held in pre-trial detention for 23 months."
"He was arrested for political reasons"
Attorneys Molu and Demir have stated that "the ECtHR has ruled that Demirtaş has been arrested for political reasons" and added: "It is the first time that the ECtHR has ruled that that the Article 18 of the Convention has been violated in a case filed against Turkey."
In its judgement, the ECtHR has emphasized that the pre-trial detention of Selahattin Demirtaş "pursued the predominant ulterior purpose of stifling pluralism and limiting the freedom of political debate" and ruled for a violation of the Article no. 18 with the following words:
"Having regard to the foregoing, and in particular the fact that the national authorities have repeatedly ordered the applicant's continued detention on insufficient grounds consisting simply of a formulaic enumeration of the grounds for detention provided for by law, the Court finds that it has been established beyond reasonable doubt that the extensions of the applicant's detention, especially during two crucial campaigns, namely the referendum and the presidential election, pursued the predominant ulterior purpose of stifling pluralism and limiting freedom of political debate, which is at the very core of the concept of a democratic society."
"His pre-trial detention must be ended"
Attorneys Molu and Demir have also emphasized, "The court has ruled that there has been a violation of Article 18 of the Convention in conjunction with Article 5/3." Accordingly, the ECtHR has stated in its judgement:
"Court considers that the respondent State must ensure that the applicant's pre-trial detention, ordered in the criminal proceedings forming the subject of the present case, is ended at the earliest possible date, unless new grounds and evidence justifying his continued detention are put forward."
The court has ruled that Turkey shall pay Selahattin Demirtaş 10 thousand Euro in non-pecuniary and 15 thousand Euro in pecuniary damages.
An application was filed to the Ankara 19th Heavy Penal Court for the release of Selahattin Demirtaş from prison on May 15, 2018. The application was rejected on May 21.
The request for Demirtaş's release was then taken to the upper court, the Ankara 20th Heavy Penal Court, which also rejected Demirtaş's demand for release on May 24.
The attorneys of Selahattin Demirtaş applied to the Constitutional Court as per the Article No. 68 of the Internal Regulation so that the case of Demirtaş will be handled with priority.
On June 13, state-run Anadolu Agency reported that the Constitutional Court rejected Demirtaş's request for release. (AS/SD)
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