Presidential candidate Demirtaş’s lawyers to apply to Constitutional Court for release

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Supporters of the Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP) hold placards reading "Free Demirtas" in front of Istanbul's Courthouse on May 21, 2018, to demand the release of Pro-Kurdish party leader Selahattin Demirtas who is currently in a Turkish jail. Turkey's jailed former pro-Kurdish party leader Selahattin Demirtas, 45, who is running against the Turkish President in the June 24 polls despite being held in jail for the last one-and-a-half years, lambasted the "unfairness" of his campaign conditions, but said he was ready to rally voters from prison. / AFP PHOTO / OZAN KOSE

Lawyers for Selahattin Demirtaş, the jailed presidential candidate from the Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP), will apply for his release to Turkey’s Constitutional Court following rejections by two lower courts.

“The Constitutional Court has the authority to give a decision in a few days. We hope that they do and that they render a verdict that will shed light on this dark political atmosphere,” Mahsuni Karaman, one of the lawyers, tweeted on Thursday.

After the Supreme Election Board’s official announcement of Demirtaş’s presidential candidacy, lawyers applied to the Ankara 19th High Criminal Court for his release on May 15, but the judges refused to grant it.

They then filed an objection with the Ankara 20th High Criminal Court; however, that court also refused his release on the basis that he would destroy the evidence against him.

The HDP’s ex-leader Demirtaş has been in pretrial detention since November 2016.

The Ankara Public Prosecutor’s Office drafted an indictment in January 2017 demanding a sentence of 142 years’ imprisonment on charges of being the director of a terrorist organization.

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