Human rights court orders Turkey to release Kurdish leader Selahattin Demirtaş Access to the comments

By Michael Daventry

Europe’s top human rights court has ordered Turkey to immediately release Kurdish politician Selahattin Demirtaş from prison after more than four years of detention.

The European Court of Human Rights said his arrest in 2016 violated his freedom of expression and his right to participate in free elections.

Its ruling partly upholds the court’s call for his release two years ago.

His detention during the 2018 presidential election, in which Demirtaş was a candidate, “pursued the ulterior purpose of stifling pluralism and limiting freedom of political debate, which was at the very core of the concept of a democratic society”, the court said.

Turkey was fined €60,400 in damages, costs and expenses, and ordered to “secure the applicant’s immediate release”.

Demirtaş is an opponent of Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and a former co-leader of the Peoples’ Democracy Party (HDP), Turkey’s largest pro-Kurdish party.

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