Categories: Politics

42 years prison sentence for Demirtaş in Kobani case

An Ankara Court sentenced former Democratic People’s Party (HDP) co-leaders Selahattin Demirtaş and Figen Yüksekdağ decades of prison sentences in total in the Kobani Case where 108 people are tried for terror charges including “disrupting the unity and territorial integrity of the state.”

An Ankara court has sentenced former Democratic People’s Party (HDP) co-leaders Selahattin Demirtaş and Figen Yüksekdağ to decades in prison in total in the Kobani Case, where 108 people are being tried for terror charges, including “disrupting the unity and territorial integrity of the state.”

Ankara 22nd High Criminal Court sentenced Selahattin Demirtaş to 20 years in prison for aiding to disrupt the unity and integrity of the state, 4 years and 6 months for incitement to commit a crime, 2 years and 6 months for making propaganda for a terrorist organization, 1 year and 6 months for inciting people to disobey the law. Demirtaş was sentenced 42 years in prison in total with other sentences, journalist Alican Uludağ reported from the court.

The court acquitted 36 defendants including Selahattin Demirtaş on the grounds that it was not established that the defendants committed the crime of killing 6 people including Yasin Börü and injuring others during the Kobani incidents in 2014.

The court sentenced Figen Yüksekdağ to 19 years for aiding the act of disrupting the unity and territorial integrity of the state, 4 years and 6 months for incitement to commit a crime, 2 years for violating the Law No. 2911 on Meetings and Demonstrations, 3 years for two separate charges of making propaganda for a terrorist organization, and 3 months for violating election bans. In total, Yüksekdağ was sentenced to 30 years and 3 months in prison.

Kobani case: 130-page long verdict

Gültan Kışanak was sentenced to 12 years in prison for illegal organization membership. Kışanak was ordered to be released. Like Kışanak, Sebahat Tuncel was also sentenced to 12 years in prison for membership in a terrorist organization, and Tuncel was also released.

Altan Tan, Beyza Üstün, Bircan Yorulmaz, Can Memiş, Aysel Tuğluk and Sırrı Süreyya Önder were acquitted.

Extensive security measures were taken in front of Sincan Prison before the trial. In addition to the DEM Party, CHP, EMEP, TİP delegations, MPs, international observers, lawyers and supporters attended the trial.

The defense lawyers requested the court to postpone the verdict, stating that new documents had been received in the file. The court rejected the request and stated that it would announce the verdict after hearing the last statements.

During the announcement of the verdict, DEM Party MPs who had come to attend the hearing left the courtroom. The 130-page verdict started to be read in the hall where the defendants were not present. As the lawyers left the courtroom during the reading of the verdict, the presiding judge suspended the announcement of the verdict.

Politicians tried in detention unlawfully

A total of 108 people, including former HDP co-chairs Selahattin Demirtaş, Figen Yüksekdağ and Gültan Kışanak, as well as members of the executive committee and politicians, were on trial for a number of offenses, including “disrupting the integrity of the state” in relation to the Kobani protests in 2014.

The prosecution demanded 38 aggravated life sentences for each of the defendants on 29 separate charges.

The investigation into the Kobani incidents was launched in 2014. In October 2020, 17 HDP politicians were arrested as part of this investigation. To date, more than 30 hearings have been held in the case.

In his first defense on December 25, 2023, Demirtaş said, “There is not a single concrete piece of evidence against me, this is a case of political revenge, we were not arrested legally, we are all political hostages,” and that the court’s verdict would be “null and void in the conscience of the people.

The politicians were tried in pre-trial detention even though the legal upper limit for pre-trial detention had been exceeded. Demirtaş and Yüksekdağ, who are among the defendants charged in the case, have been in pre-trial detention for nearly eight years, while Gültan Kışanak and Sebahat Tuncel have been in pre-trial detention for seven years. The upper limit for pre-trial detention is 7 years.

Demirtaş hundreds of proceedings more than 30 lawsuits

Selahattin Demirtaş and Figen Yüksekdağ were arrested in November 2016 along with 12 other HDP MPs.

Hundreds of proceedings have been filed against Demirtaş since 2016, and these proceedings have been consolidated in more than 30 cases.

Demirtaş was able to appear before a judge for the first time 434 days after his arrest in 2016 on charges of insulting the President. In 2018, he was sentenced to his first prison term as part of the insult lawsuits based mainly on his speeches made after 2009.

He was arrested in 2019 in connection with an investigation into the Kobane protests. Demirtaş was able to make his first defense in this case on December 25, 2023.

Throughout this whole process, HDP politicians continued to be detained despite the European Court of Human Rights’ rulings on many violations of the right to a fair trial, including long detention and insufficient evidence.

The Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe has urged the Turkish authorities to immediately release Osman Kavala and Selahattin Demirtaş, in line with judgments from the European Court of Human Rights.

YetkinReport

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