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Catalan MEP regrets EU 'silence' over jailed leaders after bloc demands Turkey release Kurdish prisoner

ERC's Jordi Solé calls both cases "similar" and questions "double standards" of European institutions

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12 December 2018 12:04 PM

by

ACN | Brussels

The European Union has demanded that Turkey comply with a ruling by the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) and free the jailed Kurdish opposition politician, Selahattin Demirtaş.

The case has sparked a lot of interest in Catalonia due to the situation of the political leaders in custody awaiting trial over their involvement in last year's independence bid.

Catalan MEP for the Esquerra party (ERC), Jordi Solé, called on EU institutions not to "wait in silence" for a future ECHR ruling on the jailed pro-independence leaders, a case he insisted was "similar" to that of the Kurdish politician.

In fact, at the end of November, the lawyers for three of the leaders in prison incorporated the court's ruling condemning Turkey for keeping Demirtaş in custody into the defense strategies of their clients.

  • "When state authorities abuse pre-trial imprisonments to silence its opponents, and limit freedom of political debate, we cannot remain silent"

    Jordi Solé · Catalan MEP for Esquerra Republicana (ERC)

In Tuesday's debate in the European Parliament, the EU's head of diplomacy, Federica Mogherini, criticized Turkey for keeping a "democratically elected leader" in prison, and claimed it "undermined the judicial independence" of the country's courts.

According to the Catalan MEP, the Spanish authorities "are doing the same" as Ankara by keeping the pro-independence leaders in prison, and he questioned the EU's "double standards" in calling for countries like Turkey to respect "human rights" but not those in the European bloc.

"When state authorities abuse pre-trial imprisonments to silence its opponents, and limit freedom of political debate, we cannot remain silent," he said. 

Solé went on to argue that should states "abuse" pre-trial prison "to silence the opposition, coerce freedom of expression and consolidate their power," the EU's institutions cannot "remain silent" but must demand the release of prisoners like Demirtaş or the Catalan leaders.

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  • An image of a demonstration of HDP Kurdish party with a mask of Selahattin Demirtas (by Reuters).

  • An image of a demonstration of HDP Kurdish party with a mask of Selahattin Demirtas (by Reuters).

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