Final Trial of Selahattin Demirtas and MP Sirri Onder At the Silivri Prison Compound Court

Selahattin-Demirtas

 

Written by Margaret Owen, International Trial Observer and Barrister

Friday 7 September

I was informed that Selahattin Demirtas (pictured), the imprisoned former co-chair of the pro Kurdish Peoples Democratic Party (HDP), would at last be appearing in person for this final, 6th hearing. Selahattin Demirtas has been detained since November 2016 under anti-terror law. He faces various charges and is accused of making terrorist propaganda. Demirtas’ co-defendant is the HDP MP for Ankara, Siri Surreya Onder, who will also be present at the hearing.

I travelled to Istanbul to report on the trial as an International Observer from the UK. Outside the Silivri prison compound I expected to find crowds of Demirtas/HDP supporters. Upon my arrival at the prison however, it was eerily quiet, as apart from a sizeable police presence, I found only a few hundred supporters, and soon discovered that Demirtas himself would not be there in person after all; he would be delivering his defence to the terrorism charges via video link.”Look”, said one female supporter, pointing to the sky. “You see the drone. The police want to identify who is here outside the court so they can investigate us for supporting terrorism”.  It was the first time I had seen a drone, like a black insect in the peaceful blue sky.

At the entrance to the court I was joined by a few other international observers, from the Canadian, Swiss and Dutch embassies. The nature of this trial would reflect the status of Turkey’s justice system since Erdogan won the 2018 Presidential election, in which Demirtas also stood as a candidate from his prison cell. It’s a significant event.

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Julie Ward MEP: REPORT ON GENERAL AND PRESIDENTIAL ELECTIONS IN TURKEY JUNE 24 2018

I arrived in Igdir in Eastern Turkey, close to the border with Armenia, at 8am on the morning of Sunday June 23rd 2018, election day. My contact, Murat, met me at the airport and we went for a quick cup of chai before heading out to village communities in the foothills of Mount Ararat with a woman who had been the co-mayor of Igdir until unelected trustees had been appointed by the state instead. I had come to Turkey as an independent election observer at the invitation of HDP, having previously been an Election Observer for the European Parliament’s Democracy Support Unit, participating in official Election Observation Missions in Kenya, Kosovo and Kyrgyzstan in 2017. Continue reading

The Continual Trials of Selahattin Demirtas

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Demirtas

Written by Margaret Owen, International Trial Observer and Barrister

Sunday 15 April

My last blog on 13th February reported that the case of Selahattin Demirtas, the former co-chair of Turky’s HDP (Peoples’ Democratic Party), had been adjourned until 11th April. With his parliamentary immunity removed, Demirtas faces many separate indictments and trials under Turkey’s Anti Terror Laws. In February, before a court in Akara he had eloquently conducted his own defence, (see previous blogs) but as his request for bail was refused, he remained in custody at Evirne prison.

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Background on the Trial of Selahattin Demirtas

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Demirtas

 Monday 12th February 2018

Written by Margaret Owen, International Trial Observer and Barrister

On 4th November 2016, the Co-Chair of Turkey’s pro Kurdish political party, the HDP (the Peoples’ Democratic Party), Selahattin Demirtas (pictured) was arrested and kept in pre-trial detention at Edirne prison under the country’s anti-terror law. On Wednesday 14th February 2018, in Ankara Demirtas will appear before a court as part of his ongoing trial. I am a member of a delegation from the UK that hopes to observe proceedings as they unfold.

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The Trial of Figen Yüksekdağ and Selahattin Demirtas

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IMG_1939

Blog post from International Trial Observer and Barrister Margaret Owen (pictured)

Wednesday, December 6

Ms Figen Yüksekdağ is charged, under the Anti Terror Law, with inciting violence, making propaganda for a terrorist organisation ( PKK)  and establishing and managing a terrorist organisation. These accusations were made on the basis of speeches she had made, as an elected MP, both inside and outside parliament between 2011 and 2015. Figen, as an elected member of parliament, and co chair of a legal political party, was simply doing her job. It was absurd to allege that her speeches were promoting terrorism. There is no evidence that she organised or is a member of a terror group.

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Joint Statement on behalf of the International Observers Delegation to the trial of Selahattin Demirtas and Figen Yuksekdag

6th – 7th December 2017

 We the undersigned make this declaration to serve as a joint statement on behalf of all members of the international observes delegation that have arrived here in Ankara to observe and objectively report on the trial of the two HDP (Peoples Democratic Party’s) Co-Chair’s Sellahattin Demirtas and Figen Yuksekdag.

 Mrs. Yuksekdag and Mr. Demirtas were arrested and detained in prison since last November, 2016. Numerous charges have been brought against them relating to alleged “terrorism” activities. The particulars and evidence of the charges they face however emanate from their parliamentary activities and the responsibility they must uphold on behalf of the millions of voters that have elected them as their parliamentary representatives. These include; their speeches in Parliament, speeches at political rally’s, party meetings, press statements and general and legitimate opposition party activities. Continue reading

Imprisoned HDP Co-Chair Selahattin Demirtaş and Deputies Join Prison Hunger Strikes

Contact: international@hdp.org.tr Web: http://www.hdp.org.tr Address: Barbaros Mah. Tahran Cad. Büklüm Sok. No: 117 06680 Çankaya, Ankara – Turkey Phone: +90 312 427 17 80 Fax: +90 312 4288957

31 March 2017

On 31 March 2017, our co-chair Selahattin Demirtaş and MP Abdullah Zeydan, both held captive in Edirne High Security Prison, have initiated a hunger strike in solidarity with the protest actions of political prisoners across Turkey. Continue reading

Julie Ward MEP denied visit to Leyla Birlik HDP MP.

MEP Julie Ward visited Diyarbakir with Peace in Kurdistan this weekend. Following the visit she attempted to meet with Leyla Birlik the MP arbitrarily detained in Silivri prison outside Istanbul. Julie is twinned with Leyla as part of an international campaign of solidarity. Unfortunately she was denied permission to enter the prison and was harassed by military police. Her full statement appears below. Continue reading

HDP Statement and Messages from Jail. November 7th 2016

Following the detention of Selahattin Demirtas and Figen Yiksekdag together with  nine of their colleagues last week, and the issue of warrants for all the remaining HDP MPs, the HDP Executive Committee issued a statement full of strength and determination (copied in full below). Clearly parliamentary activity will be suspended but the struggle continues. The statement entitled “We will win- No matter What !” concludes “We will not bow down to this regime and its practices; we will continue to spread our proposals for democracy in defiance of this dictatorship. Lest we forget, we, all of us, are Turkey’s hope; we are its light of democracy and freedom. We will nourish this hope and light together.” Continue reading

HDP Europe: Latest updates November 2016

Please find below 4 documents from the HDP setting out information and reactions to the detention of the Diyarbakir co-majors, the court ruling on Figen Yuksekdag, the state of emergency and the speech by Demirtas on 27th October

1.  The court ruling on Figen Yüksekdağ is not lawful but arbitrary and political

Şanlı Urfa 5th High Criminal Court ruled today “to bar HDP co-chair Ms Figen Yüksekdağ from travel abroad by way of judicial control”. This action is entirely arbitrary and in conradiction of legal precedents. Continue reading