PEN declares jailed Kurdish politician Demirtaş an ‘honorary member

PEN Center Germany, part of PEN International, has declared jailed Kurdish politician Selahattin Demirtaş, who has been imprisoned in Turkey for two years, an honorary member, Deutsche Welle reported on Wednesday.

PEN Center Germany is following the fate of the author and former chairman of the pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) with concern, the association said in a statement.

Although the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) declared the pre-trial detention of Demirtaş too lengthy on Nov. 20 and called for his release, a Turkish court refused to free the Kurdish politician.

“We call on the relevant Turkish authorities to immediately and unconditionally release our honorary member Selahattin Demirtaş from prison,” said the PEN Center.

Demirtaş was arrested in November 2016. A court found him guilty in September on charges of disseminating terrorist propaganda. He was sentenced to four years, eight months in prison. The ruling is not yet final as Demirtaş has appealed.

The Kurdish politician ran from prison as a candidate against President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan in the presidential election in Turkey in June. Although he could not conduct an election campaign, he received 8.4 percent of the vote.


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