Turkey: Ruling against former co-mayor of Diyarbakir overturned
Turkey's Court of Cassation overturned a ruling against Selcuk Mizrakli, former deputy and co-mayor of Turkey's Kurdish-majority province of Diyarbakir.
Mizrakli was removed from his post in August 2019, to be replaced with a trustee appointed by the Turkish Interior Ministry, and was arrested in October 2019 over "terror" charges.
He was convicted by a Diyarbakir court in July 2020 of "being a member of a terrorist organization," and was sentenced to a prison term of nine years four months and 15 days.
The ruling was overturned on Tuesday by the Court of Cassation who said the local court's decision was based on "insufficient investigation and poor justification."
The Court of Cassation also stated that Mizrakli's right to defense was restricted as he was prevented from attending hearings in the courthouse, and instead was forced to attend via video link.
The Court rejected an application for Mizrakli's release.
About Selcuk Mizrakli
A medical doctor and a former deputy in the Turkish Grand National Assembly, Selcuk Mizrakli was elected mayor in the 2019 local elections with 63 percent of the vote in Diyarbakır, a province with a population of over 2.3 million.
After being replaced with a government appointed trustee in August like his predecessor Gultan Kisanak , he was arrested in October on the charge of being a "member of a terrorist organization."
Mizrakli is currently incarcerated in Edirne prison and is the cellmate of Selahattin Demirtas, the former co-chair of the Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP).
Mayors of 54 of the 65 local governments in control of the HDP have been replaced with appointed trustees in the process that began on 19 August 2019.