Turkish court rules to keep pro-Kurdish HDP’s former co-chair Demirtaş in prison

A Turkish high criminal court has decided to keep former pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) co-chairperson Selahattin Demirtaş in prison during a trial in which he faces terror charges.

The last hearing of Demirtaş’s trial in which he is charged with leading a terrorist organization was held at the Ankara 19th High Criminal Court on Wednesday.

Demirtaş, who has been in pre-trial detention at Edirne Prison since November 2016, did not appear at the hearing, which was attended by his lawyers, some HDP deputies and family members.

Demirtaş’s lawyers asked for the release of their client, objecting to the prosecutor’s opinion that there is strong evidence showing Demirtaş committed the crimes he is accused of and that he presents a flight risk.

The court rejected the lawyers’ request for Demirtaş’s release and ruled to keep him in jail.

The trial was adjourned until Aug. 28 and 29.

Demirtaş was the HDP’s co-chairperson when he was jailed on Nov. 4, 2016 along with several other party deputies as well as the party’s other co-chairperson, Figen Yüksekdağ.

He was the HDP’s presidential candidate for the June 24 snap presidential election and lost the race against President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, who was elected to the top state post again garnering 52 percent of the vote.

Demirtaş was not released from prison during the campaigning period and had to conduct his election campaign from prison. (turkishminute.com)

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