Pro-Kurdish party drafts booklet on detainee rights

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Turkey’s pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP), whose members are frequently the subject of legal harassment, has drafted a booklet detailing a person’s rights while in police custody, the Kronos news website reported.

The booklet, titled “Our rights during detention, raids, arrest and giving depositions,” has been prepared jointly by the party’s Law and Human Rights Commission and Education Commission. The booklet will be sent to the party’s provincial and district organizations.

The introduction says the Turkish government is engaged in efforts to render the party dysfunctional through the use of the judiciary and police force.

“When every member of our party knows their basic rights, this will strengthen our stance and defense against these tools of the government. … We know that the reason behind the detention of each of our members is political. Let’s know our rights to fight against the government-led arbitrary and discriminatory detentions, let’s fight together,” the booklet says.

President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and his ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) have long portrayed the HDP as the political front of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), listed as a terrorist organization by Turkey, the US and the EU. The party denies links to PKK and says it is working to achieve a peaceful solution to Turkey’s so-called Kurdish problem and is only coming under attack because of its strong opposition to Erdoğan’s entrenched rule.

Turkey’s Constitutional Court on June 21 accepted an indictment filed by a senior prosecutor seeking the closure of the HDP for alleged ties to the PKK.

AKP ally the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) strongly backs the closure of the HDP. Hundreds of politicians from the party including its former co-chairs have been behind bars on politically motivated charges for several years.

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