Jul 18 2018

Request rejected for release of former HDP chair Demirtaş

Selahattin Demirtaş, the former co-chair of the pro-Kurdish opposition Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) imprisoned since 2016 on terrorism charges, will remain in jail pending trial after a court rejected his lawyers’ application for release, Turkish secularist daily Cumhuriyet reported on Wednesday.

Demirtaş’s legal team had rejected prosecutors’ statements that said the politician posed a flight risk and applied for his release while the trial is still ongoing.

The former HDP co-chair was jailed in November 2016 for alleged involvement with the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), an outlawed group that has sought Kurdish self-rule through armed struggle since 1984.

The next hearings in his trial will be held on Aug. 28 and 29.

Long periods in detention awaiting trial have become a common fate suffered by the many politicians, journalists and other dissident figures who face charges in Turkey.

Demirtaş ran as the party’s presidential candidate from his prison cell in the Jun. 24 elections this year, winning over 4 million votes, 8.4 percent of the total.