Statement by Demirtaş’s Lawyers (HDP)

Published by HDP on the 10th of May, 2017

HDP co-chair Mr Selahattin Demirtaş and deputy Mr Abdullah Zeydanoglu are being kept in Edirne F-Type High Security Prison, under conditions of solitary confinement.

Today our co-Chair Mr. Selahattin Demirtaş’s lawyers held a press conference regarding his judicial process.

To the Esteemed Members of the Press, and our Esteemed Guests;

As you know, our client, the Co-Chair of the Peoples’ Democratic Party, Mr Selahattin Demirtaş, was detained on 04.11.2016, at around 1 am at night at his home in Diyarbakır, and on the same day, was arrested by the Criminal Court of Peace. The prosecutors must have been excessively busy during the day time since our client was detained after midnight, despite the absence of a detention order, and in fact, the absence of any legal basis for such an action.

With a change prepared by the AKP in line with instructions from the President, which was accepted at the Grand National Assembly of Turkey on 20 May 2016, a provisional article was added to the Constitution, and sentence 1 of clause 2 of Article 83 of the Constitution was suspended. With this provisional article, the Constitution included the statement that from 20 May 2016 on, if a summary proceeding has been prepared regarding a member of parliament, and if that summary proceeding has been sent to the Grand National Assembly of Turkey, then those members of parliament will not benefit from “parliamentary immunity”.

Five months after the abovementioned Constitutional change, on 4 November 2016, within the scope of investigations carried out by four different prosecutor’s offices in four different provinces, a simultaneous operation was initiated regarding 15 HDP members of parliament, and as a result of these operations, 10 members of parliament, including our client Mr. Demirtaş, were arrested.

We would like to state that, the parliamentary immunity of no member of parliament was lifted according to provisions of the Constitution or the Internal Regulations of the Parliament – with the Constitutional change, a retrospective regulation was imposed, by violating fundamental legal principles, to bring forth that members of parliament about whom a summary proceeding was prepared until the date of 20 May 2016 cannot benefit from parliamentary immunity. In this way, both the provisions of the Internal Regulations of the Parliament were by-passed, and the member of parliament whose parliamentary immunity had been lifted was deprived of paths to apply to inspection mechanisms (such as the right of objection at the Constitutional Court).

During the time which he was tried because of summary proceedings prepareed before the date of 20 May 2016, Mr. Demirtaş is still a member of parliament, and possesses parliamentary immunity. Although he still possesses parliamentary immunity according to the Constitutional regulation, he is being tried and remains under arrest for crimes he is alleged to have committed before the date of 20 May 2016. These trials constitute a violation of his immunity that continues to exist according to the Constitution.

During this particular period, when Demirtaş, the Co-chair of a party that has a group in parliament, and tens of members of parliament from his party remain under arrest, fundamental changes amounting to systemic change were carried out regarding the Constitution of the Republic of Turkey, and these changes were made subject to a referendum. The fact that during the process of Constitutional change Mr Demirtaş and other members of parliament remained under arrest meant that their rights to speak in and vote at Parliament were usurped, preventing the will of the electorate to be reflected in Parliament, and thus, rendering the legitimacy of the referendum regarding the Constitutional change disputable.

Summary Proceedings Regarding Mr Demirtaş

A total of 96 summary proceedings have been prepared regarding Demirtaş, all of which refer to press statements, speeches at rallies and meetings, speeches he made at invitation of institutions or establishments, statements he made during parliamentary work and speeches he made at the Grand National Assembly group of his political party.

•             48 of these summary proceedings are about his political activities during the 8-year-span from 2007, when he was elected member of parliament, to the end of 2014; while the other 48 are about his political activities during the one-and-a-half-year-span from 2015 until 20 May 2016 when the Constitutional change suspending parliamentary immunity was made.

•             46 of these summary proceedings were prepared after the President’s instruction to “lift their immunity” on 28 July 2015, within a period of 10 months,

•             15 of these summary proceedings were prepared during the time in which the Constitutional change that lifted parliamentary immunity was being discussed in the Grand National Assembly,

•             And 1 summary proceeding was prepared, by the Ankara Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office, on 20 May 2016, precisely the day the Constitutional change that lifted parliamentary immunity was being discussed in the General Assembly of the Grand National Assembly, and on the same day, it was rushed, in the care of a public servant, to the Ministry of Justice so it could be included within the scope of the Constitutional change.

Charges in the summary proceedings: 39 of the summary proceedings were arranged for propaganda of a terrorist organization, 17 of them for opposition to the Law on Meetings and Demonstrations, 4 of them for being member of an organization, 7 of them for committing a crime in the name of an organization without being a member of that organization, 9 of them for belittling the institutions and organs of the Republic of Turkey, 7 of them for insulting the President, and 3 of them for insulting the Prime Minister and other individuals. Other than this, each summary proceeding includes applicable articles regarding various crimes including slander, and opposition to the Election Law.

14 prosecutors, who prepared 29 summary proceedings, including Chief Prosecutors and Deputy Chief Prosecutors, were dismissed for being a member of the FETÖ terrorist organization and ARRESTED.

Information Regarding the 29 Cases Filed Against Mr Demirtaş

Apart from the file he is arrested for, a total of 29 cases have been filed against our Client, at the Diyarbakır, Mardin, Erciş, Siirt, Doğubeyazıt, Ankara, Mersin, Istanbul, Bakırköy, Silopi, Kayseri, Şırnak and Viranşehir Criminal Courts of First Instance; and at the Midyat, Adana, Elazığ and Bakırköy High Criminal Courts.

As of today the courts have ruled for the following in these cases:

•             “Acquittal” in 1 case (Midyat High Criminal Court, the use of the word “Kurdistan”)

•             “Discontinuance of Action” in 1 case (Bakırköy 7th Criminal Court of First Instance, “Insulting the Prime Minister”, due to Legislative Nonliability/Chair Immunity, according to Article 83/1 of the Constitution)

•             “5 months imprisonment” in 1 case (Doğubeyazıt Criminal Court of First Instance, due to the words, “government terror”, according to Article 301 of the Turkish Penal Code) (The Judge was dismissed last week by the Supreme Board of Judges and Prosecutors)

•             “Postponement” in 3 cases (at the Silopi and Erciş Criminal Courts of First Instance and at the Adana High Criminal Court, on the basis of “statement of ideas”, in line with the provisional Article 1 of Law No. 6352)

Since some of the remaining 23 files have been merged, 19 cases are pending adjudication.

Information Regarding the Main File

All investigation files opened because of 31 summary proceedings prepared by different Chief Public Prosecutor’s Offices were merged by the Diyarbakır Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office into a single investigation file, and a case was filed against Mr Demirtaş.

This is the only file Mr Demirtaş is under arrest for. This file was first opened at the Diyarbakır 8th High Criminal Court, however, it was then transferred to Ankara province on security grounds. The file is, at present, registered at the Ankara 19th High Criminal Court under 2017/47, and despite more than 7 months having passed since the arrest of our Client, and around 120 days having passed since the admission of the indictment, a hearing date is yet to be set.

The alleged organization membership of Mr Demirtaş was based upon telephone calls he made with members of parliament, administrators, Central Executive Committee members, Mayors and other politicians from his political party, his travels abroad using his passport, his participation in the Democratic Society Congress and speeches and meetings he held within this scope.

Striking examples from other charges:

The use of words such as ‘Resistance’ and ‘the Kurdish people’ in the speech he made during Newroz 2016,

His description of operations carried out in cities as ‘war and a disaster’ in a press statement made on 19 February 2016,

Statements he made on a TV channel on 26 February 2016 where he spoke about the events that took place in Sur – Diyarbakır,

The speech he made on 4 March 2016 in Diyarbakır after the civilians’ Friday prayers,

The call he made on 17 March 2012 to the people to celebrate Newroz, and the fact that he made the victory sign,

His participation on 4 March 2011 on the march for “education in the mother tongue {native language}, and the lifting of the election threshold”,

The public speech he made on 19 September 2010 at the Kurdish Language and Education Movement’s “We Want Education in the Mother Tongue” organization held in Diyarbakır,

His use of the words “Kurdistan” and “guerrilla” at the open air rally held on 7 July 2012 in Bingöl,

and the statement/call he made on 6 October 2014 for solidarity with Kobanê.

These were among the reasons he has been charged with the crimes of, propaganda for an organization, provoking the people to hatred and animosity, provoking crime, opposition to Law no 2911, praising a crime and a criminal, and committing a crime in the name of an organization without being a member of that organization.

Prosecutors who prepared 8 out of the 31 summary proceedings in the main file have since been dismissed and ARRESTED.

Applications to the ECHR and the Constitutional Court

Regarding our Client, Mr. Demirtaş, two applications have been made to the European Court of Human Rights, one with other members of parliament following the Constitutional change that lifted parliamentary immunity, and the other after his arrest; and both applications remain under examination.

On the other hand, an individual application was also filed with the Constitutional Court following our Client’s arrest, however, the Constitutional Court has yet, and unfortunately, made no decision regarding our application.

Demirtaş’s lawyers
Mahsuni Karaman
Aygül Demirtaş
Mesut Beştaş
Mehmet Emin Aktar
Ahmet Özmen
10 May 2017, Diyarbakır

 

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