Prior conviction prevents Demirtaş’s release from prison after court ruling

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The pro-Kurdish Peoples's Democratic Party's (HDP) former leader Selahattin Demirtas and current Turkish presidential candidate, 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

The Ankara 19th High Criminal Court on Monday ruled to release jailed Kurdish politician Selahattin Demirtaş pending trial, but he was not allowed to leave prison since he had been convicted in another case, the Artı Gerçek news website reported.

Although the prosecutor demanded a continuation of his detention, the ruling was made unanimously by the judges. The prosecutor later appealed the decision.

Demirtaş faces 142 years in prison on allegations of membership in the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), which is designated as a terrorist organization by the European Union, the US and Turkey.

In December a regional appeals court upheld a sentence of four years, eight months handed down to Demirtaş for disseminating terrorist propaganda.

Since the Kurdish politician has been in jail for more than three years, his lawyers can apply for parole, the Turkish media said.

The Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) on Monday called for the release of their former co-chair Demirtaş.

On Sept. 18 the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) will hear a case against Turkey upon the application of Demirtaş’s lawyers.

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