A court in Ankara has rejected the application for release from prison of former HDP leader Selahattin Demirtaş, citing the lack of a translation of the written ECtHR ruling into Turkish.
In a decision issued on Saturday, a court in Ankara rejected an application for the release of former HDP co-chair Selahattin Demirtaş from prison. In justification, the 7th Criminal Division of the local court referred to the "lack of translation" of the written ECtHR ruling into Turkish. "The defendant's defense attorneys attached only an English translation to their application for release from custody. In this respect, it is assumed that the ECtHR judgment is not suitable for a legal review of the arrest warrant," ruled the Criminal Division.
Demirtaş's lawyer Mahsuni Karaman accused the court of committing a "crime."
The European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) ruled on December 22 that the detention of Selahattin Demirtaş was politically motivated and that he must be released immediately. In addition, the Turkish leadership must pay the Kurdish politician 60,400 euros for property damage, non-material damage, and compensation for costs and expenses. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan then accused the ECtHR of "double standards and hypocrisy” and claimed that the Strasbourg judges backed a "terrorist" with the ruling.
Selahattin Demirtaş has been in prison for over four years. The lawyer was arrested on November 4, 2016, at the same time as numerous other Kurdish and leftist politicians and subsequently imprisoned. A year ago, the arrest warrants against Demirtaş and co-chairwoman Figen Yüksekdağ were surprisingly lifted. However, at the instigation of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, a new arrest warrant was issued. Erdoğan stated, "We cannot release them. They infiltrated the parliament. Our nation does not forget those who called people to the streets and murdered our sons. We will pursue them to the last and never let up."
In June, the Turkish Constitutional Court had upheld a lawsuit filed by Demirtaş alleging that his personal freedom had been violated by pre-trial detention. The court upheld Demirtaş, ruling that the period of pre-trial detention exceeded the "reasonable period of time" and thus violated Article 19 of the Turkish Constitution. The Ministry of Justice would also have to pay him 50,000 TL in compensation. Despite the legal success, he was not released from prison because a new detention decision had already been issued against the Kurdish politician.
The ECtHR in Strasbourg had already ruled in November 2018 that Demirtaş's pre-trial detention was unlawful. This ruling was also undermined by an ad hoc conviction in one of the countless criminal proceedings against the Kurdish politician.