Mar 19 2019

ECHR to hear appeals by Demirtaş and Turkey over November ruling

The European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) on Tuesday accepted the appeals of jailed Kurdish politician Selahattin Demirtaş, requesting a re-evaluation of certain points in the court’s November ruling calling for his release, and Turkey, rejecting the ruling in full, Turkish news site Gazete Duvar reported.

Demirtaş, former co-chair of the pro-Kurdish Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP), has been jailed since November 2016 following the government-declared state of emergency in the aftermath of the attempted coup in July that year.

Last November, the ECHR court called for his immediate release, ruling that the extensions to the detention of Demirtaş, accused of spreading propaganda for the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), throughout two crucial elections had been designed to stifle pluralism and limit political debate.

The Kurdish politician on Feb. 23 submitted the appeal through his lawyers, urging the Grand Chamber to examine the court’s decision last year, arguing that the ruling failed to consider possible human rights violations as well as its applicability to Turkish law. The court on Tuesday accepted his appeal, according to Gazete Duvar.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan dismissed the ECHR ruling shortly after it was passed, saying it did not legally bind Turkey, and vowed to continue with the trial of the 45-year-old HDP lawmaker.

Following Demirtaş's appeal, Turkey's ministry of justice applied to the court and demanded a re-evaluation of its decision that the Kurdish politician, who faces terrorism charges, should be released, as his detention had exceeded a "reasonable period." The court has also agreed to hear the Turkish government's appeal, the ministry said.