399 days after his arrest, the first hearing of Selahattin Demirtas, the Co-Chair of the Peoples’ Democratic Party, is scheduled to begin in Ankara on 7 December 2017. The prosecutors demand 142 years imprisonment for Selahattin Demirtas.
Most of the indictment includes press releases, speeches at conferences, panels and similar legal and political activities. The criticism Mr Demirtas raised against the ruling party in his speeches within his political and public activities has been considered as crime, he has been labeled as “terrorist,” “traitor” or “enemy“.
For this reason, prominent international thinkers, authors and politicians such as Noam Chomsky, Slavoj Žižek, Nancy Fraser, Elfriede Jelinek among others have signed an appeal (see attached), in which they offer their support for political and societal forces facing repression by the Erdogan regime. “The systematic persecution of the opposition People’s Democratic Party (HDP), the imprisonment of its co-chairs Selahattin Demirtas and Figen Yuksekdag, as well as 13 further HDP deputies, 4 of whom have since been released, is an attack on Turkey’s democratic plurality that we cannot accept”, they state.
But there is no democracy without an opposition, they explain further. Regarding Mr Demirtas’ hearing they have a clear stance: “We stand with those who fight for democracy and justice. We demand the immediate release of HDP co-chairs and other deputies in Turkish prisons.”
Further information on the Demirtas indictment:
– It is a bagged indictment that was compiled by merging thirty-one separate dossiers and that is based on speeches Mr Demirtas gave in different places on different dates. The prosecutors, who had prepared nine of the dossiers, were arrested on charges of being a member of the Fethullah Gulen Terrorist Organization (FETO) and aiding the coup attempt on 15 July 2016. This very prosecution demands 142 years imprisonment for Selahattin Demirtas based on the dubious indictment.
– The alleged ‘criminal actions’ in the majority of the dossiers date back to 2011, 2012 and 2013. But, the preparation dates of the dossiers are in the first four months of 2016, when the President and the Prime Minister said ‚immunities must be lifted.‘ Even this reveals that the dossiers are prepared for political reasons, not legal ones.
– 300 out of the 501 pages of the indictment involve press releases and the speeches at conferences, panels and similar legal and political activities. The criticism Mr Demirtas raised against the ruling party in his speeches within his political and public activities has been considered as crime. All of these dossiers should be evaluated in the context of legislative irresponsibility.
– There is no parliamentary decision that orders the stripping of Selahattin Demirtas’ parliamentary immunity for „establishing and managing a terrorist organization“. Despite the fact that there were no charges of „establishing and managing a terrorist organization“ in the dossiers prepared against him, the indictment involved this charge. Thus, the court does not have jurisdiction to judge Selahattin Demirtas based on these charges.
Peoples’ Democratic Party
4 December 2017