Imprisoned Kurdish mayor denied release despite ruling by high appeals court
Kurdish politician Selcuk Mizrakli, who has been incarcerated for four years on spurious "terror" allegations in Turkey, was denied release today despite a decision by the high appeals court to overturn a local court ruling sentencing him to nine years in prison.
Mizrakli, a medical doctor by profession and a former deputy for the Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP), was removed from his post as Diyarbakir mayor in August 2019 by the interior ministry, and a state official was appointed in his place.
Connected to the court room via video link today, Mizrakli said:
"I'm not an arrestee but a captive. I'm an elected mayor. I'm here because of baseless allegations. The interior minister had made a statement (concerning the case) before any wrongdoing was proved. We explained that this was a hijacking of authority. Let it be clear that a mayor has been imprisoned solely over an informant's remarks. This is a violation of the constitution."
Mizrakli was denied release by the panel on grounds that there were new allegations against him, Mezopotamya News Agency (MA) said, and that they were essentially accusations of a "witness" named Umit Akbiyik.
It has recently come to light that a new indictment was prepared on the basis of these accusations, MA said.
Mizrakli is incarcerated in Edirne prison and is the cellmate of former HDP co-chair Selahattin Demirtas.