Jailed pro-Kurdish politician’s lawyer denies reports of Demirtaş’s release

The lawyer of jailed pro-Kurdish People’s Democratic Party (HDP) former co-chair Selahattin Demirtaş has dismissed reports that the prominent opposition politician would be released from prison next week.

Mahsuni Karaman said there is no truth to reports published in numerous media outlets citing journalist Nevzat Bingöl that the jailed HDP lawmaker would be released following a hearing scheduled for Tuesday, independent news site T24 reported. 

“Even if there is a verdict for Demirtaş’s release on Tuesday’s hearing, unfortunately, he has been forced to remain in prison until 2020,’’ Karaman said.

Demirtaş was arrested in November 2016 and remains in jail facing possible jail sentences totalling more than 100 years on a range of terrorism charges. 

The HDP former co-chair has been accused of links to the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), a group that has been in armed conflict with Turkish armed forces since the breakdown of a peace process in 2015.

The European Court of Human Rights in November 2018 ruled that the 46-year-old HDP lawmaker should be released as his ongoing detention was in violation of his rights, however Turkish President RecepTayyip Erdoğan has said Turkey was not bound by the court’s ruling.