11:46 GMT +326 March 2019
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    The leader of Turkey's pro-Kurdish opposition Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP) Selahattin Demirtas (File)

    European Court of Human Rights Urges Ankara to Free Opposition Politician

    © REUTERS / Umit Bektas
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    MOSCOW (Sputnik) – The European Court of Human Rights on Tuesday called on Ankara to release former co-leader of Turkey's pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) Selahattin Demirtas from pre-trial detention, citing numerous violations of the European Convention on Human Rights.

    "The Court finds several violations of the Convention and orders the termination of the pre-trial detention of opposition politician Selahattin Demirtas … The Court, therefore, held, unanimously, that the respondent State [Turkey] was to take all necessary measures to put an end to the applicant’s pre-trial detention," the court’s press release read.

    READ MORE: Turkish CHP Party: US to Stay in N Syria for as Long as Kurdish Militants Remain

    The court said that Demirtas was not promptly brought before a judge and that his right to free elections had been violated.

    "The Court found that it had been established beyond reasonable doubt that the extensions of Mr Demirtas’s detention, especially during two crucial campaigns, namely the referendum and the presidential election, had pursued the predominant ulterior purpose of stifling pluralism and limiting freedom of political debate, which was at the very core of the concept of a democratic society," the press release said.

    Demirtas was arrested alongside dozens of other party members in 2016 over allegations of having links to the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK), listed as a terrorist organization by Ankara. In September, Demirtas was sentenced to four years and eight months in prison on charges of terrorist propaganda.


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