The European Parliament on Jan. 21 adopted a resolution calling on Turkey to immediately release Selahattin Demirtaş, former co-chair of the Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP) who has been in prison since November 2016.
The European Parliament “considers the unlawful extension of Mr Demirtas’ detention for more than 4 years a cruel and politically motivated punishment that is causing irreparable personal and political damage to him, his family and his party,” the resolution read, which was approved by 590 votes in favor, 16 against and 75 abstentions.
The EU's law-making body called on Turkey “to refrain from further intimidation measures against him and to guarantee his human rights as enshrined in the Turkish Constitution and in European and international law.”
It called on Turkey to end the misuse of terrorism charges and to limit the use of pre-trial detention to cases where there are compelling and credible grounds to hold people in detention pending trial.
Demirtaş has been held in prison for more than four years on unsubstantiated terrorism-related charges, despite two binding rulings in favor of his release by the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR).
Turkish authorities still refuse to release Demirtaş and a court on Jan. 7 accepted a new indictment against him and 107 other people calling for 38 counts of life sentences.