HDP appeals to the ECtHR for jailed leaders Demirtaş and Yüksekdağ

HDP Co-chair Selahattin Demirtaş.

Pro-Kurdish People’s Democracy Party (HDP) has applied to the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) for the continuing unlawful imprisonment of the party’s co-chairs Selahattin Demirtaş and Figen Yüksekdağ.

The application filed to the ECtHR has underlined the failure of the Constitutional Court as an appeal body to carry out an investigation, so the top court’s inertia has necessitated the application to the ECtHR.

It is stated in the application file that the imprisonment of the co-chairs of the HDP constitutes a violation of the right to freedom and security, freedom of speech and the right to free elections as protected by both Turkey’s Constitution and the European Convention on Human Rights.

Pro-Kurdish HDP is the third largest political party of Turkey in terms of votes received in the last general election.

The attacks against the HDP buildings and election offices have been also mentioned in the application file. According to data given in the file, the HDP has suffered 22 attacks in 2014, 106 attacks before the June 7 elections in 2015 and 36 attacks in 2016.

It is reported in HDP’s submitted file that 9,796 people affiliated with the HDP or DBP have been detained and 2,906 people have been arrested within the scope of operations targeting the pro-Kurdish parties since 22 July 2015. Moreover, since July 2016, a total of 5,471 people have been detained and 1,482 people have been arrested, including HDP Co-chairs Demirtaş and Yüksekdağ and other imprisoned deputies, reported in the application file.

By reminding that the HDP has appealed to the top court 95 days ago, it is also emphasized in the submitted file that Turkey’s Constitutional Court has failed to provide any response.

Turkish government has stepped up its crackdown on Kurdish politicians in recent months. Trustees have been appointed to dozens of municipalities in the country’s predominantly Kurdish Southeast, while hundreds of local Kurdish politicians have been arrested on terror charges. There are currently 12 HDP deputies behind bars.

Feb. 20, 2017

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