European human rights court finds Demirtas application to be ‘inadmissible’

The European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) rejected an application made by the imprisoned leader of Turkey’s second largest opposition, pointing to flaws in the application, Demokrat Haber reported on Tuesday.

Selahattin Demirtas, the head of the pro-Kurdish People’s Democratic Party (HDP), had previously appealed to prison authorities in Turkey to allow him to socialise with eight other inmates, but this was rejected.

Demirtaş applied to the ECtHR this time after Turkey’s Constitutional Court ruled on 18 December 2019 that the complaint regarding the violation of the right to respect for private life was clearly unfounded. In his application, Demirtas alleged that his rights were violated within the scope of Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights, which regulates the right to respect for private and family life.

The ECHR did not find Demirtas’ application to have any basis, saying that Demirtas was not completely deprived of social interaction.

“The Court reiterates that the national authorities are in a better position than the international judge to decide on local needs and context in principle. On the other hand, the national courts had subjected the methods and principles of the assessment of the competent prison administration to a scrutiny and rejected the applicant's request, with decisions that appeared not arbitrary or manifestly ill-founded in the present case,” said the court in its decision.

Demirtas was imprisoned in November 2016 and sentenced to over a hundred years in prison in a case that has been derided as blatantly political.

In December, the ECHR ruled that Turkey must release Demirtas from custody, owing to the arbitrary nature of his imprisonment. Turkey rejected the court’s decision.