Demirtaş didn’t flee Turkey despite knowing he would be jailed: Co-chair’s wife

The wife of imprisoned Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) co-chair Selahattin Demirtaş has said her husband refused to move abroad despite knowing that he would be sent to jail.

“My husband knew that he would be arrested several months in advance. Although many of his friends suggested he should go abroad and stay there, he declined to do so. When thousands were arrested, he said he would stay on as co-chair of the party and resist,” Başak Demirtaş said.

“A large number of HDP lawmakers took this decision together and acted accordingly,” she added.

The HDP co-chair was arrested on Nov. 4, 2016, on terror charges. after parliament partially lifted legal immunity granted to dozens of lawmakers on charges registered before May 2016.

Başak Demirtaş said she does not think that politicians imprisoned in recent years in Turkey have received a fair trial.

“The evidence used against the accused are public speeches. You cannot imprison a politician because of what they say. If you do not like their speeches, you can criticize them or refuse to vote for them,” she said.

“All deputies, including co-chairs, municipal co-chairs, party members and many parliamentarians, have been imprisoned under this framework. But it is no secret that the president’s particular hostility toward my husband began after the June 7, 2015 election,” she said.

Demirtaş stated that “taking responsibility” was more important than personal freedom, equality and comradery.

“Taking responsibility for trying to find a solution to problems must remain a priority. For this reason I have always felt proud of my husband for his honorable fight, as well as his responsibilty for seeking a resolution to the issue,” she said, adding that despite everything they “still believe in the rule of law.

“If the judiciary was impartial and independent, I would trust the court systems and say ‘he will be released 100 percent.’ We still trust in the principles of the law. But our confidence in the judiciary today, which has an obvious bias, is zero,” she said.

Demirtaş also said their daughters knew very well the reason for their father’s imprisonment.

“My daughters are trying to boost mine and their father’s morale and have shown a level of maturity beyond their years. They write letters to their father once a week. After my husband was jailed, my eldest daughter started to play the violin and my little girl started playing the guitar. In fact, they are recording their new songs on the phone and sending them to their father,” she said.

Demirtaş also noted that the imprisoned HDP co-chair has lost 12 kilograms since he was jailed.

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