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Statement by the Federal Government Commissioner for Human Rights Policy and Humanitarian Aid on the criminal proceedings against Selahattin Demirtaş

11.12.2018 - Press release

Bärbel Kofler, Federal Government Commissioner for Human Rights Policy and Humanitarian Aid, issued the following statement on the latest developments in the criminal proceedings in Turkey against Selahattin Demirtaş, former HDP co chair:

Three weeks ago, the European Court of Human Rights ordered Turkey to release Selahattin Demirtaş. The Court expressly described his detention on remand as politically motivated and thus sent a clear message to the Turkish Government.


The accusations by the court in Ankara are untenable! The fact that just a few days later the Turkish courts ordered Mr Demirtaş’ detention to be continued and sentenced him casts a further shadow on these proceedings.  I thus call urgently on Turkey to meet its obligations under the Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms. It cannot be in the interests of the Turkish Government to further fuel the conflict with parts of the democratic legitimised Opposition.

Background information:

On 20 November 2018, the European Court of Human Rights ordered Turkey to release former HDP co chair Selahattin Demirtaş from remand as soon as possible. As one reason for this ruling, the Court stated that the length of his detention on remand was not justified. A few days after this ruling was publicly criticised and described as “non binding” by senior Turkish government officials, the competent court ruled on 30 November that detention should be continued. On 4 December, a court of appeal upheld his sentence of four years and eight months in prison for spreading “propaganda for a terrorist organisation”.

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