Ankara court rejects Demirtaş’s request for release based on ECtHR ruling

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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

A high criminal court in Turkish capital of Ankara has rejected a petition from the lawyers of jailed Kurdish politician Selahattin Demirtaş demanding his release from prison based on a recent ruling from the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR), Turkish media reports said on Thursday.

In a ruling on Nov.20, the ECtHR urged Turkey to swiftly process the legal case of  Demirtaş, the former co-chairperson of the pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP), saying his pretrial detention had gone on longer than could be justified.

Demirtaş who is one of Turkey’s best known politicians, was sentenced in September to more than four years in jail on terrorism charges related to a speech he gave in 2013.

However a local court, the Ankara 19th High Criminal Court, on Nov. 30 refused to release Demirtaş and decided to ask Turkey’s Justice Ministry whether the ECtHR ruling was final.

Following this, Demirtaş’s lawyers applied to a higher court, the Ankara 20th High Criminal Court, demanding the Kurdish politician’s release based on the ruling of the European court; however, this court also decided for the continuation of Demirtaş’s imprisonment.

Demirtaş has been in Edirne prison since November 2016, facing terrorism charges.

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