Europe’s top human rights court opens new file for Demirtaş

The European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) has opened a new file regarding the second arrest of the imprisoned former co-chair of the pro-Kurdish Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP), Selahattin Demirtaş, over the 2014 Kobane protests.

The court asked Turkey’s defence team to submit information on whether the imprisoned politician’s detention was based on reasonable suspicion, justification and reasonable time, Demirtaş’s lawyer Ramazan Demir announced via his twitter account on Monday.

According to Demir’s announcement, the violation of Article 18 of the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR), was also on the agenda within the scope of politician’s file.

On Nov.20, 2018, the European Court made the rare ruling that there had been a violation of Article 18 of the European Convention, meaning that the extension of Demirtaş’ detention had been pursued for ulterior purposes and as such was an abuse of power.

This was the first time the Court found such a violation in relation to Turkey.

Article 18 states that the restrictions permitted under the convention to the said rights and freedoms shall not be applied for any purpose other than those for which they have been prescribed.

Demirtaş was detained alongside other HDP deputies on Nov. 4, 2016 over alleged links to the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), an outlawed militant group engaged in an internal conflict with Turkey since 1984.

Last month, Demirtaş filed another individual application to Turkey’s Constitutional Court (AYM), demanding the implementation of an ECHR ruling for his immediate release.

In its final judgement regarding a 2018 decision on Demirtaş’s release, the ECHR Grand Chamber on Dec. 22 ruled that Demirtaş’s four years in prison violated his rights under five different categories, including freedom of expression and right to liberty.

The PKK, which has fought for political autonomy in Turkey for four decades, is designated as a terrorist organisation by Turkey, the United States and the European Union.