Turkish top court rules in favor of two jailed Kurdish lawmakers’ release demand

Photo: Turkish top court rules in favor of two jailed Kurdish lawmakers’ release demand / Turkey

The Constitutional Court has ruled in favor of a complaint filed by two jailed lawmakers Jan. 2 on the grounds that their detention violated the rights of an elected person and was excessive in duration, according to European Court of Human Rights' jurisprudence Hurriyet Daily News reported.

The two deputies, from the Peace and Democracy Party (BDP), were detained as part of the Kurdish Communities Union (KCK) trial.

Five jailed Kurdish lawmakers - BDP deputies İbrahim Ayhan, Selma Irmak, Faysal Sariyildiz, Gulser Yildirim, and independent deputy Kemal Aktas - filed individual complaints to Turkey's top court for their release after a local court refused to grant their freedom two weeks ago. The rulings of two Diyarbakir courts had come despite the Republican People's Party (CHP) lawmaker Mustafa Balbay being freed in similar circumstances earlier this month.

The Constitutional Court declared on Jan. 3 its decisions on the applications of Yildirim and Ayhan. The applications of the other three lawmakers are still being reviewed.

The court also accepted the compensation demands, ruling for 3,000 Turkish Liras of moral damages for each lawmaker.

The rejection of the five lawmakers' release by the Diyarbakir courts sparked a debate on whether the release of Balbay should set a precedent for their cases as the BDP denounced "a double standard," labeling it "political hostage-taking."

Sentenced to 34 years and eight months in prison at the Ergenekon trial, Balbay was released after the top court ruled that his conviction violated the rights of an elected person and their electors on Dec. 4.

A recent ruling of the Constitutional Court said long detentions were "unconstitutional" on the basis of the European Court of Human Right's jurisprudence on the matter.

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Tags: Turkey, KCK, BDP