Ankara court rules for continuation of Kurdish leader’s incarceration

The pro-Kurdish Peoples's Democratic Party's (HDP) former leader Selahattin Demirtas and current Turkish presidential candidate, sits in prison in Edirne on May 4, 2018. Demirtas, who has been behind bars since November 2016, is in prison accused of links to outlawed Kurdish rebels and is facing a 142-year sentence on charges of leading a terror organization. / HANDOUT / AFP PHOTO / HDP

The Ankara 19th High Criminal Court on Thursday ruled for a continuation of the detention of jailed Kurdish political leader Selahattin Demirtaş, the T24 news website reported.

The next hearing in his trial will be held between Dec. 12 and 14.

Former co-chair of the Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) Demirtaş said during a hearing on Wednesday that “your decision is fixed, I don’t request my release.”

He was arrested on Nov. 4, 2016 on accusations of being an executive of a terrorist group, disseminating terrorist propaganda and promoting crime. The prosecutor demanded 142 years in prison in the indictment.

As the hearing began on Wednesday, Demirtaş attended via video conference from Edirne Prison.

He was a presidential candidate in the presidential election of June 24. Despite his lawyers’ request he was not released by the court to campaign for office.

President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan called Demirtaş a “terrorist” at his campaign rallies.

“Nobody should say the courts are not under [political] pressure. It’s shameful!” Demirtaş said in his defense on Thursday.

“I believe the days in which fair trials are conducted will come,” he added.

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