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Prison administration restricting Demirtaş’s access to newspapers

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The administration of Edirne Prison initially refused to give jailed politician and Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) presidential candidate Selahattin Demirtaş a newspaper in which an interview he gave to the paper was published, only relenting after a protest was filed with prison authorities, according to the Birgün daily.

The Edirne Prison Education Board announced on May 14 that Demirtaş’s interview with Birgün made accusations against prison staff by circulating “fake news,” which allegedly led to a security problem for the institution.

Demirtaş spoke in the interview of the difficulties of campaigning for an election while under pretrial detention, explaining that it’s impossible to do properly under those circumstances. Then he called on his supporters to campaign for him.

Last week Demirtaş was also prevented from at first seeing an edition of the Cumhuriyet daily in which there was an interview with his mother. On May 13, a statement was made via Demirtaş’s Twitter account claiming that the Cumhuriyet, Birgün and Evrensel dailies were not given to Demirtaş until they had been inspected.

“An edition of the Cumhuriyet daily was not given to me because in it were my mother’s remarks and a photo of us together. I guess they were concerned that I would be affected by my mother’s comments and would cast a ballot for myself,” Demirtaş said.

Birgün reported that the newspapers were finally given to Demirtaş a day later by the prison administration after inspection.

The HDP’s Demirtaş has been in pretrial detention since November 2016.

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