YSK refuses to allow Demirtaş to participate in political TV show by phone

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Supporters of pro-Kurdish Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP) hold portraits of jailed ex-HDP leader Selehattin Demirtas while prison guards stand in the background on May 25, 2018 during a launching campain meeting near the prison where Demirtas is being held in Edirne. The pro-Kurdish Peoples' Democratic Party launches its campaign for the presidential and parliamentary polls on June 24 in front of the prison where the HDP presidential candidate and ex-HDP leader Selahattin Demirtas is being held. / AFP PHOTO / OZAN KOSE

Turkey’s Supreme Election Board (YSK) on Wednesday refused a request by Selahattin Demirtaş, the jailed presidential candidate of the Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP), to participate in a TV program by telephone, NTV reported.

Demirtaş asked if he could use his weekly 10-minute telephone call to phone in to Fox TV to participate in the “Leaders in Fox” program, which gives a voice to presidential candidates ahead of the presidential election on June 24.

The YSK pointed to the Justice Ministry as the authority to decide on Demirtaş’s request.

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

On Tuesday, lawyers for Demirtaş applied to Turkey’s Constitutional Court for his release.

After the YSK’s official announcement of Demirtaş’s presidential candidacy, lawyers applied to the Ankara 19th High Criminal Court for his release on May 15, but the judges refused to grant it.

They then filed an objection with the Ankara 20th High Criminal Court; however, that court also refused his release on the basis that he would destroy the evidence against him.

The Ankara Public Prosecutor’s Office drafted an indictment in January 2017 demanding a sentence of 142 years’ imprisonment on charges of being the director of a terrorist organization.

Başak Demirtaş, Demirtaş’s wife, on May 16 said following a prison visit that her husband was holding a rally for his cellmate, HDP deputy Abdullah Zeydan.

Republican People’s Party (CHP) presidential candidate Muharrem İnce and İYİ (Good) Party presidential candidate Meral Akşener have both called on the government to release Demirtaş.

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