Court decides to uphold HDP MP Leyla Güven’s custody

The court has decided to uphold the custody of Leyla Güven, the HDP member of parliament, who is under arrest since 31st January 2018.

Court decides to uphold HDP MP Leyla Güven’s custody

The court case of Leyla Güven, the HDP member of parliament and the co-leader of DTK [Democratic Society Congress] has been seen. The court has decided to uphold the custody of Güven.

The Diyarbakır 9th Major Crimes Court, rejecting pleas for the release of Leyla Güven, the co-leader of DTK, who has been on hunger strike for the last 49 days for the removal of isolation over Öcalan, has decided to uphold her custody. The trial has been postponed to 25 January 2019.

The trial of Güven who has been on hunger strike in order to remove the isolation PKK leader, Abdullah Öcalan, took place under intense security measures.

Leyla Güven has been under arrest since 31st January 2018, because of her statements about the Afrin operation and her work in DTK and is being tried with a [possible] sentence of 25 to 46.5 years.

The hearing taking place in Diyarbakır 9th Major Crimes Courthouse has been transferred to the hall particularly built to see the cases of 152 Kurdish politicians under the KCK [Koma Civakên Kurdistan – the Kurdistan Communities Union] case due to lack of space.


Güven, who is on the 49th day of the hunger strike she started in Diyarbakır E Type Prison, did not participate the hearing. However, alongside the HDP co-leader Pervin Buldan and other MPs, DTK and HDP representatives and spokespeople, there have been participation from the DBP [Democratic Regions Party] as well as the Bar, TIHV [Turkey Human Rights Charity], Human Rights Association and TJA [Tevgera Jinen Azad - Free Women's Movement] activists.


In the hearing starting under intense security measures taken in front of the Diyarbakır Court of Justice and the courthouse, the head of the court changed.


Reyhan Yalçındağ Baydemir, one of Leyla Güven’s solicitors representing her in the trial, noting her client’s demands, states that “This is a historical case. It is Güven’s demands which are tried. She is being tried for saying people should not die, should not lose their lives. None of her statements contains anything violent or provocative. She has merely behaved as a responsible politician and did what she must. In 2 sessions of the 3 hearings, there is no head of the court. Let no one say this trial is being heard under due legal process. The CHP MP [CHP – Republican Peoples’ Party] is out of prison while Güven’s custody continues. Güven is not demanding her release but an end to the cull of law. We are not even being informed about the custody decision. For this reason, this custody is not lawful but political,” and demanded her release.


One of Güven’s solicitors, Cemile Turhallı Balsak, noting that the hearing was seen in the hall where 154 Kurdish politicians were tried in the past, states that “One of those who was tried then was Güven herself. Unfortunately, nothing has changed since then. Leyla Güven is under custody for being an HDP MP.”


One of Güven’s other solicitors Şivan Cemil Özen, drawing attention to the breach of legislative immunity with his client’s arrest, states that “On the one hand, it is an interesting situation with the former release and then arrest after objections. She is the only female MP under custody. As a representative of peoples of Turkey, her legislative rights have been hindered with your decision. How could it happen that after your signatures for release can the situation of arrest emerge?”

In the recess after the defence plea, the decision was taken to uphold her custody and the case was deferred to be heard on 25th January.


Pervin Buldan, the co-leader of HDP, in a statement made in front of Diyarbakır Court of Justice after the hearing, reacting to the decision given, said “It is a separately noteworthy situation that the court committee giving this decision is formed of three women. Today the main reason for the chaos and crises Turkey finds itself is, in fact, the approach to the Kurdish question, the imprisonment of the representatives of Kurdish people and the subjection to the isolation of Mr Öcalan in the İmralı prison. We would like to express also that Leyla Güven has not subjected her body to hunger strike for [the improvement of] her own conditions. She has never had such a demand. She has the following about her demands. I am not demanding my release from this committee and this court. Leyla Güven’s demand is the demand of all us. Leyla Güven’s demand today is the demand of millions in Turkey. Isolation should be done away with as soon as possible. An end should be given to this lawlessness, to this unfairness as soon as possible.”


The court trying Güven had decided her release on 29th June on the grounds that evidence was gathered but with the objection submitted to the higher court, the release decision was overturned. The release plea submitted by Güven’s solicitors on the precedent of the Supreme Court decision to release CHP MP Enis Berberoğlu was rejected by the 9th Major Crimes Court on the grounds that “evidential circumstances had changed.”

Güven had announced going on hunger strike in order to protest the isolation of Abdullah Öcalan, the PKK leader during the 3rd session of her trial on 7th November as she was tried under custody. Announcing its recess decision, the court had deferred the case to be seen on 26th November having rejected the pleas for her release.

Reyhan Yalçındağ Baydemir, Güven’s solicitor, having visited her in Diyarbakır E Type prison on the 47th day of her hunger strike, has reported the deterioration of her client’s health due to low blood pressure and loss of weight but also that she had high morale throughout their meeting. Yalçındağ also stated that they have applied the Diyarbakır Medical Office for the follow-up of Güven’s health. Adding also that due to the courthouse where the case not being adequate because of high participation, they have approached the Diyarbakır Bar in order to ensure adequate facilities for the courthouse. (Diyarbakır/EVRENSEL)

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