We are not afraid of prison: HDP co-chair Serpil Kemalbay

Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) co-chair Serpil Kemalbay has vowed that the Kurdish issue-focused party’s MPs will not be intimidated by “imprisonment or torture.”

“No HDP lawmakers are intimidated by imprisonment, pressure, violence and torture. They will not obey and will not bow to fear. We will continue to resist no matter how much pressure you put on us,” Kemalbay said on Dec. 5, addressing the HDP’s parliamentary group.

Summaries of proceedings were recently filed against a number of HDP lawmakers, while others are already jailed after their parliamentary immunities were removed. The first hearing of jailed HDP co-chair Selahattin Demirtaş’s trial is also due to be held 399 days after he was first imprisoned, on Dec. 7.

“Demirtaş has not yet even been brought to the court for the file that he is in prison for. He will appear in the dock for the first time,” Kemalbay said.

She added that the HDP has appealed to the Constitutional Court, arguing the jailing of MPs is “against the constitutional right to vote and stand for election.”

“The Constitutional Court, which should already have ruled in accordance with its legal precedent stating that a lawmaker cannot be jailed pending trial, is silent. Somehow it decided to review our application one day before the first hearing [of Demirtaş],” she said.

The Constitutional Court had announced on Nov. 29 that it will review Demirtaş’s application on Dec. 6.

Kemalbay blasted the top court for “acting under the influence of political power,” saying that it will review 21 other cases on the same day.

“Only 15 minutes will be left for Demirtaş’s file. What can you review in 15 minutes?” she said.

Demirtaş and 10 other HDP lawmakers were arrested on Nov. 4, 2016. The prosecutor’s indictment was finalized in February 2017, accusing him of “managing terrorist organization,” “promoting a terrorist organization,” “violating the law on meetings and demonstrations,” and “provoking a crime.” According to the charges he faced up to 142 years in prison.

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