An arrested co-chair of Turkey’s third largest party, the Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP), did not participate in the first hearing of his “terrorism” case after prosecutors refused to share the indictment.
The first hearing of the case, in which Selahattin Demirtaş is charged with making terror propaganda and faces up to five years in prison, took place in the southern province of Adana on Nov. 17.
The guardian in the prison in which Demirtaş is being held captive in the northwestern province of Edirne told the courtroom that he would not be participating the hearing through the voice and video informatics system (SEGBİS). The guardian also said the necessary explanation for the decision would be given by his lawyers.
A number of lawyers participated in the hearing, which was held at the 2nd Adana Court of Serious Crimes. The hearing in the case was postponed until Jan. 10, 2017.
Ten HDP lawmakers, including co-chairs Demirtaş and Figen Yüksekdağ, were arrested in a probe launched against 14 of the party’s deputies over alleged links to the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK).
Meanwhile, a HDP deputy from the southeastern province of Urfa criticized Parliamentary Speaker İsmail Kahraman “for remaining silent in the face of the operations.”
“What kind of parliamentary speaker are you? Your members are in jail and in solitary confinement and you say nothing,” Osman Baydemir said in parliament, adding that no charter or law could be legitimate when a party’s co-chairs are in jail.
“No one can say that the parliament is functioning when our co-chairs are in jail. No law or charter that’s going to be prepared will be legitimate,” he said.