Turkey: Kurdish leader sentenced to 2.5 years more in prison

Turkey: Kurdish leader sentenced to 2.5 years more in prison
Update: 14 October 2022 19:06
A+ A-
Kurdish leader “targeted public officials involved in the fight against terrorism," the court said

Former Co-Chair of Pro-Kurdish HDP Selahattin Demirtas was sentenced on Friday to 2.5 years in prison for "targeting public officials involved in the fight against terrorism", over his remarks about the former Ankara Chief Public Prosecutor.

After the reversal decision of the Ankara Regional Court of Justice, Demirtas was connected to the hearing held at the Ankara 25th High Criminal Court via video conference from the prison where he was detained, and his lawyers were present in the courtroom.

During the hearing Demirtas did not accept the charges, claiming there is no concrete evidence in the indictment against him and the lawsuit has been filed against him on political grounds.

The court decided with a majority of votes on the prison sentence. 

Demirtas during another trial referred to Ankara Chief Public Prosecutor Yuksel Kocaman by his name saying that he organized a political plot against him and he would bring him to account before the law and justice. 

Demirtas claimed “the same public prosecutor, in an unethical manner, assigned a prosecutor and made this prosecutor carry out the investigation about himself and present it to the court as an indictment."

Selahattin Demirtas, who has been in jail for 6 years and could face a life sentence if convicted in the main case against him related to 2014 protests in the mainly Kurdish southeast.

Last year the European Court for Human Rights called for his release, saying the justification for holding him in prison was a cover for limiting pluralism and debate and the evidence did not back up the terrorism-charges directed at him. 

While ECHR decisions are binding, Turkey has ignored several recent rulings. President Tayyip Erdogan accused the ECHR of hypocrisy after the ruling, saying Demirtas was a terrorist responsible for the deaths of tens of people.