Turkish court rules for continued imprisonment of Kurdish politician Demirtaş

The Ankara 19th High Criminal Court on Tuesday ruled for a continuation of the imprisonment of Kurdish politician Selahattin Demirtaş, who has been in jail since November 2016 on charges of serving as an executive of a terrorist organization.

Demirtaş attended the hearing via video conference, and his lawyers were not present in the courtroom. After reading new evidence added to Demirtaş’s file, the judge asked for his defense, but Demirtaş said he would prefer to make a statement when he and his lawyers are present in the courtroom. The next hearing will be held on Oct. 3.

Former Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) co-chair Demirtaş is accused of serving as an executive of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), which is designated as a terrorist group by Turkey, the US and the European Union, although he has distanced himself from the terrorist organization.

Demirtaş, the presidential nominee from the HDP in elections on June 24, garnered 8.4 percent of the vote.

According to law, he could not run for both a parliamentary seat and the presidency; therefore, he has not held the position of deputy since the elections. During his campaign, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan called Demirtaş a “terrorist” in several speeches. (turkishminute.com)

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