HDP’s co-chairs: Politicians who have been taken hostages must be released

Press statement by our co-chairs Pervin Buldan and Mithat Sancar:

The application made by the lawyers of our former co-chair Selahattin Demirtaş to the ECHR Grand Chamber has reached a conclusion today. With its decision, the Grand Chamber has confirmed the previous ECtHR judgement, which ruled that Demirtaş should be released immediately.

The Chamber has found all reasons submitted by Demirtaş’s lawyers valid and concluded that his rights, especially his freedom of thought and expression and right to participate in politics, have been violated. This judgement sets a precedent for all our other imprisoned politicians.

In response to the ‘immediate release’ judgement handed down by the ECtHR in 2018, the government had said that ‘the judgement was not final’ and the lawyer’s requests for Demirtaş’s release were rejected. However, with this final and binding judgement delivered by the ECtHR Grand Chamber today, there remains no such justification any more. With this decision, all political investigations against the politicians who are held hostage and especially Demirtaş, have been rendered null and void, and all such cases have legally collapsed. With this decision, all similar cases based on conspiracy, political operations and prosecution files based on them have been nullified. As confirmed by the ECHR Grand Chamber, the trials against our elected officials are merely political.

We would like to reiterate that this judgement is final and binding. The government can no longer evade it on political grounds. By this judgement, Demirtaş and all our other imprisoned politicians must be released immediately with no ifs or buts. Any other action constitutes defiance of international law and a violation of universal human rights.

Pervin Buldan & Mithat Sancar
Peoples’ Democratic Party Co-chairs
22 December 2020