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Demirtaş says trials and charges against him debunked by Europe’s top rights court

The pro-Kurdish Peoples's Democratic Party's (HDP) former leader Selahattin Demirtaş sits in prison in Edirne on May 4, 2018. Demirtas, who has been behind bars since November 2016, is in prison accused of links to outlawed Kurdish rebels and is facing a 142-year sentence on charges of leading a terror organization. / HANDOUT / AFP PHOTO / HDP

Jailed Kurdish political leader Selahattin Demirtaş on Tuesday issued a statement following a European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) verdict calling for his immediate release and said the trials and charges against him had been debunked by the court.

In a written statement released through his lawyers Demirtaş said the ECtHR decision stating that his pre-trial detention was unlawful confirmed that he is being held as a “political prisoner.” Demirtaş said his detention from the very beginning had not been judicial, but political.

“All cases I’m being tried in and all charges against me have been completely debunked,” Demirtaş stated after the court’s ruling on Tuesday and said the courts in Turkey including the Constitutional Court have been complicit in serious human rights violations.

In response to a reaction by President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, who said ECtHR verdicts are not binding for Turkey, Demirtaş said as the head of the executive branch Erdogan declared that he would not recognize the rule of law and called this “a grave situation” for Turkish democracy and society.

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