HDP says Erdoğan pressure caused court to rule against Demirtaş release

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The pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) has said a Turkish court that ruled on Friday not to release former HDP co-chairperson Selahattin Demirtaş from jail despite a European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) ruling recommending it made its decision due to pressure from President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and his government, Turkish media reports said.

The Ankara 19th High Criminal Court on Friday rejected a request for release filed by Kurdish politician Demirtaş which was based on an ECtHR ruling that his pre-trial detention had gone on longer than could be justified.

The court decided to ask Turkey’s Justice Ministry if the ECtHR ruling was final.

Reacting to the Ankara court’s decision in a written statement later on Friday, HDP Co-chairpersons Pervin Buldan and Sezai Temelli said the court violated the Turkish Constitution as well as the European Convention on Human Rights with its ruling.

“The Ankara 19th High Criminal Court made its ruling today based completely on political motivations due to pressure from Erdoğan and the government,” said the statement, accusing the court of not acting in line with the law.

Demirtaş has been in pre-trial detention since November 2016 along with the other former co-chair, Figen Yüksekdağ.

“The Court [ECtHR] found that the judicial authorities had extended Mr Demirtaş’ detention on grounds that could not be regarded as ‘sufficient’ to justify its duration,” the Strasbourg-based ECtHR said in a statement on Nov. 20.

The ECtHR ruled that Ankara “was to take all necessary measures to put an end to the applicant’s pre-trial detention.”

President Erdoğan, who is widely criticized for taking the Turkish judiciary under his absolute control, responded to the ECtHR decision by saying that the European court’s rulings did not bind Turkey.

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