Imprisoned co-leader of the Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) Selahattin Demirtaş has been acquitted of insulting Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu at a hearing held in Ankara on Jan. 17 under heavy security measures.
Demirtaş, who was brought to Sincan Prison from Edirne Prison, where he was being held, attended two hearings on Jan. 17 in the Ankara Sincan Prison Courthouse.
One of the hearings focused on Demirtaş criticizing Soylu for attempting to commit fraud in the 2015 general elections under his capacity of deputy leader of the Justice and Development Party (AKP).
In his defense, Demirtaş challenged the court by saying it could try him, as his parliamentary immunity was still intact, but that first it should check on his status from parliament. Describing the case as political and part of a systematic effort to demolish the HDP, Demirtaş said his statements on Soylu were neither insulting nor slanderous.
“I voiced those claims in order to attract the attention of the Supreme Election Board. I made hard criticisms during the election campaign. But the complainant’s words against me were not light either. Arguments between politicians should not be brought to the courts,” he said.
The judge acquitted Demirtaş from the charges as his words were interpreted purely as criticism and not as insults.