Trial against Selahattin Demirtaş resumed

In Ankara, the trial of former HDP co-chair Selahattin Demirtaş has been resumed. The Kurdish politician accused the Turkish President Erdoğan of destroying the constitutional order.

The trial of Kurdish politician Selahattin Demirtaş continued today at the 19th Heavy Penal Court in Ankara. The former co-chair of the Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) attended the hearing in the Sincan district trial via a video conferencing system SEGBIS from Edirne F Type Closed Prison where he is jailed.

The trial was observed by numerous politicians of the HDP, CHP and SKYP. A delegation of Lawyers Without Borders led by the Swedish lawyer Per Stadig was denied entry due to lack of accreditation.

Demirtaş initially complained that the documents introduced into the trial were withheld from his defence lawyers. A fair trial was thus prevented, he said and stressed that there is no more a judicial system in Turkey:

"The system established here through trials like this one is more or less like the one-man regime in Hitler's Germany. There used to be a judiciary that functioned well or badly, but now it no longer exists. Likewise, there was a more or less functioning bureaucracy, now it no longer exists. Everything is tied to one man. A single man cannot run a party or a state. This has nothing to do with intelligence or intellectual capacity. That is the system that Erdoğan wants to establish: a chaos system in which nothing is possible anymore, nobody can demand accountability and the opposition is incapacitated. It means destroying the constitutional order. It means an operation to take over the state. And this operation has been launched with the wave of arrests against the HDP. One step was the lifting of parliamentary immunity, another was our arrest. The arrests of other opposition activists, human rights defenders and journalists also pursue this goal, as does the closure of opposition media under the pretext of the coup attempt."

The trial will continue on Wednesday at 10 am.

The trial of Demirtaş

The politician and human rights lawyer Selahattin Demirtaş was arrested on 4 November 2016 at the same time as numerous other members of his party and subsequently imprisoned. Since then he has been held in the high security prison of Edirne.

In the trial before the 19th Heavy Penal Court in Ankara, the Kurdish politician faces 142 years imprisonment on terror charges. Among other things, he is accused of having founded and directed an organisation. The indictment is based on 31 investigation reports that had been submitted to the Turkish parliament during his time as a member of parliament for the lifting of immunity.

On 2 September 2019, the court surprisingly revoked the arrest warrant against Demirtaş. As he had already been sentenced to over four years imprisonment in another trial, he was not released from prison.