Europe’s Top Human Rights Court Orders Turkey to Release Kurdish Politician

The European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) has ordered Turkey on Dec. 22 to immediately release Kurdish politician Selahattin Demirtaş from prison, finding that his detention violated his freedom of expression and other rights.

The European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) has ordered Turkey on Dec. 22 to immediately release Kurdish politician Selahattin Demirtaş from prison, finding that his detention violated his freedom of expression and other rights.

According to the ruling of the top human rights court in Europe, Demirtas’ detention goes against “the very core of the concept of a democratic society” and it had “the ulterior purpose of stifling pluralism and limiting freedom of political debate.”

The panel of 17 judges also ruled that it saw no evidence in the decisions of Demirtas’ detention that connected his actions and the charges set against him.

“The court thus concluded that the reasons put forward by the authorities for the applicant’s pre-trial detention had merely been cover for an ulterior political purpose, which was a matter of indisputable gravity for democracy,” the court said, ordering Turkey to “secure the applicants’ immediate release.”

The court also fined Turkey with €60,400 (US$73,594.38) in damages, costs, and expenses.

Former leader of the pro-Kurdish People’s Democratic Demirtas has been in prison since 2016, currently serving four years and eight months over alleged terrorism-related offenses in his 2013 speech.

Demirtras also faced charges related to protests near Turkey’s Syrian border in 2014, which accused the Turkish army of failing to intervene an Islamic State attack on the Kurdish town of Kobani.

Demirtras denies all allegations set against him.


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