02 January 2019 21:46

Selahattin Demirtaş’s lawyers apply to the Constitutional Court

Following the upholding of the prison sentence handed down to Selahattin Demirtaş, the lawyers have applied to the Constitutional Court.

Photograph: HDP

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Following the upholding by the Appeal Court of the four years and eight months’ prison sentence handed down to HDP’s Co-Chair in the previous term, Selahattin Demirtaş, his lawyers have applied to the Constitutional Court.

Istanbul Serious Crime Court No 26, at which the Selahattin Demirtaş, was tried along with former HDP MP Sırrı Süreyya Önder on the charge of “making organizational propaganda,” handed down jail terms of four years and eight months to Demirtaş and three and a half years to Önder. Following this judgment, the objection filed with Penal Chamber No 2 of Istanbul Regional Court of Justice was denied and the sentences were upheld.

It has been learnt that, subsequent to this ruling, Demirtaş’s lawyers applied yesterday to the Constitutional Court.

APPLICATION GROUNDED ON VIOLATION OF THE CONSTITUTION AND ECHR

The lawyers have based their application on violation of Article 18 of the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) in conjunction with the “right to a fair trial” regulated in Article 36 of the Constitution and Article 6 of the ECHR, “freedom of speech” regulated in Article 26 of the Constitution and Article 10 of the ECHR and “right to free elections” regulated in Article 67 of the Constitution and Article 3 of Additional Protocol Number 1 of the ECHR along with Articles 13 and 14 of the Constitution and Articles 6 and 10 of the ECHR in connection with Articles 26 and 36 of the former.

The following was noted in the application made:

“It must be noted attentively that it was stated in the Demirtaş v. Turkey (No. 2) ruling passed by the European Court of Human Rights on 20 November that, in view of the overall political situation in Turkey, the reason behind Mr Demirtaş’s detention and the primary purpose in limiting his rights was to stifle pluralism and limit freedom of political debate. The conclusion was reached in the verdict that it was not just Mr Demirtaş’s individual rights and freedoms that were under threat but the entire democratic system and it was stressed that pursuant to Articles 18 and 46 of the ECHR, for as long as there was no fresh evidence against him, the deprivation of Demirtaş’s liberty would amount to a continuation of the detected violations and he should be released immediately.

ERDOĞAN’S WORDS RECALLED

Following the European Court of Human Rights ruling, R. Tayyip Erdoğan, President of the Republic of Turkey and at the same time the AKP General Chair, said, ‘Where are you European Court of Human Rights? Do you not see these things; do you not monitor these things? Is there a ruling you have issued over these things? No country and no institution that coddles the FETOists who attempted a coup in Turkey have the right to enunciate the word “democracy.” This is not called “freedom” or “supporting the seeking of rights,” it is outright “terrorism worship, love of terrorists.”’ In another statement he made later, the President said with reference to the European Court of Human Rights ruling, ‘It is not binding on us. We will make our countermove and wrap the business up.’

ERDOĞAN’S COUNTERMOVE WAS THE RULING TO UPHOLD

It has also been learnt that the President and at the same time AKP General Chair R. Tayyip Erdoğan spoke to the Ankara Chief Republic Prosecutor on the day the European Court of Human Rights’ violation and release ruling was promulgated. It appeared that Erdoğan’s countermove in the comment, ‘We will make our countermove and wrap the business up’ he made on 23 November was for Demirtaş’s appeal application in respect of the four years and eight-month jail sentence handed down to him on the charge of making organizational propaganda by Istanbul Serious Crime Court No 26 to be rejected on the merits and the sentence imposed to attain finality, thereby frustrating the European Court of Human Rights ruling.

OPPORTUNITY FOR RULINGS TO BE FRUSTRATED

Thanks to the government’s ostensible coercion of the judiciary, the possibility exists of every violation ruling that the Constitutional Court or European Court of Human Rights passes being frustrated with a fresh penal judgment. Consequently, Mr Demirtaş faces the threat of systematic punishment. The attitude of the government and local courts that does not even recognize European Court of Human Rights’ judgments and their abuse of their duties and powers imposes an important responsibility on the Constitutional Court.

MUST BE TAKEN UP SWIFTLY

With it evident and indisputable from concrete data that the rights and limitations arising under the Convention are being abused in a blatant manner by the government and local courts, the application we have made to the Constitutional Court must be taken up and adjudicated swiftly. Emphasis was also included in the Demirtaş – Turkey European Court of Human Rights ruling that the Constitutional Court failed to take up Mr Demirtaş’s unjust detention application within a reasonable timeframe. Furthermore, the number of cases as urgent and important as Mr Demirtaş’s case before the Constitutional Court is very small. When all this is contemplated, justice dictates that the Constitutional Court take up the case in the swiftest manner. In the final analysis, Mr Demirtaş still continues to be one of the most important actors in Turkish politics. The Constitutional Court must render a decision on Mr Demirtaş that preserves the supremacy of the law in the face of this unabashed and undaunted executive – judiciary assault.” (MA)

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Reklam