September 10, 2019 / 11:39 PM
Appeals court approves release of Salahattin Demirtas

An appeals court in Ankara on Tuesday approved a lower court’s ruling for the release of the imprisoned former leader of pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party’s (HDP), Selahattin Demirtas, left-wing Turkish newspaper BirGun reported.

Demirtas has been in prison since November 2016 on charges of membership to the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), an armed organisation engaged in a conflict with Turkey for over three decades that has been designated a terrorist organisation by Turkey, the EU and the United States.

On September 2, an Ankara court ordered the conditional release of the top pro-Kurdish politician, however, Demirtas remained in prison due to a previously-approved sentence of four years and eight months.

According to Ramazan Demir, one of Demirtas’s lawyers, Demirtas could have been released on parole considering his time served. His lawyers are preparing to submit a request for parole.

The European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) in November 2018 demanded Demirtas’s release, stating that the extension of his detention throughout two crucial elections had been designed to stifle pluralism and limit political debate.

A hearing will be held at the ECHR Grand Chamber on September 18 to resolve objections to the ruling.

HDP lawmaker and lawyer Meral Danis Bestas said that the Turkish court’s approval of the ruling for Demirtas’s release constitutes a precedent for all imprisoned politicians, including Demirtas’s counterpart, former HDP co-chair Figen Yuksekdag, who was arrested alongside him.

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