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European Court of Human Rights Pressures Turkey to Release Demirtaş

European Court of Human Rights Pressures Turkey to Release Demirtaş

Tuesday, 2 February, 2021 - 09:15
Selahattin Demirtas, leader of Turkey’s pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party, during an interview with Reuters in Ankara, July 30, 2015. REUTERS/Umit Bektas

The European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) continues to call on Turkey to release Selahattin Demirtaş.

The court, which previously ruled for Demirtaş's immediate release, asked whether the imprisonment is based on reasonable doubt, grounds and time, as well as whether it violates the right to freedom of expression.

In other questions, the rights court asked Turkey whether his arrest was politically motivated and whether Article 18 of the European Convention of Human Rights was violated through his arrest.

The ECHR also questioned whether Turkey's top court is an effective legal means in Demirtaş's case.

Ramazan Demir, one of Demirtaş's lawyers, said that the defense request came due to the Constitutional Court's delay in issuing a ruling on Demirtaş's imprisonment.

"These questions are asked for the first time in this case and it's very significant," Demir tweeted on Feb. 1.

Another lawyer, Benan Molu, said that the ECHR asked whether Turkey's top court looked into the politician's appeal that was submitted on Nov. 7, 2019.

According to the ECHR's Grand Chamber, Demirtaş's pre-trial detention since Nov. 4, 2016 had sent "a dangerous message to the entire population" that sharply narrowed free democratic debate.

Demirtaş faces a sentence of up to 142 years in prison if convicted of being the leader of the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) over his actions during the Kobane protests in 2014.

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