Turkey’s top court to assess an appeal by HDP’s jailed co-chair Demirtaş on Dec. 6

Selahattin Demirtaş.

Turkey’s top court has announced on Thursday that the court will be assessing an appeal by pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party’s (HDP) imprisoned Co-chair Selahattin Demirtaş on December 6, 2017 and issue a verdict.

HDP had appealed with the Turkish Constitutional Court that the arrests were unconstitutional shortly after the co-chairs and deputies of the HDP were arrested.

Unlike the verdicts related to the applications by Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party’s (CHP) deputies Mustafa Balbay and Mehmet Haberal in the past, the top court had recently rejected HDP deputy Gülser Yıldırım’s appeal, grounds that “the long term arrest limit had not been reached” and “the arrest does not constitute obstruction of law making activity”.

On the other hand, it was reported that Turkish government has submitted its defense to the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) on November 24, 2017 regarding the cases of Demirtaş and other HDP deputies. Demirtaş has been in jail since Nov. 4, 2016, along with 8 other deputies of the party, including Figen Yüksekdağ, a former co-chair.

Turkish government’s 130-page submission, which complies with the final deadline set by the ECtHR, also includes the government’s defense for imprisoning other HDP deputies, who have now been released, in the case titled “Demirtaş and Friends.”

The ECtHR subsequently forwarded Turkey’s defense to the HDP, inviting the latter to make its submission by January 8, 2018.

The European court had marked the case of the imprisoned HDP lawmakers as “urgent,” demanding that Turkish government provide statements on the arrested deputies by July 17, 2017. Turkish government had requested two extensions before the ECHR set a final deadline for November 24, 2017.

Deustche Welle reported that Turkey has also submitted its defense over the arrest of German-Turkish journalist Deniz Yücel. Turkish government was given until November 28, 2017 to send its defense in the case involving Die Welt reporter Yücel, who has been under arrest on terror charges since February 2017. Yücel’s arrest has been a major source of tension in the already strained Turkish-German ties.

The ECtHR rejected Turkey’s third request for additional time regarding its defense in the cases of jailed daily Cumhuriyet journalists.

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