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Catalan leaders ask to be released after Strasbourg ruling on jailed Kurdish MP

Human Rights court calls on Turkey to end Selahattin Demirtaş’ pre-trial detention

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26 November 2018 06:10 PM

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ACN | Barcelona

Jailed Catalan leaders have asked Spain for release following a recent ruling from the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR), which ordered Turkey to end the pre-trial detention of a Kurdish politician.

Jordi Sànchez, Josep Rull, and Jordi Turull, in prison for their role in Catalonia’s push for independence, urged the Constitutional Court (TC) to consider the similarities of their case with that of Selahattin Demirtaş, the former co-chairman of the pro-Kurdish People’s Democratic Party (HDP).

Demirtaş spent two years in pre-trial jail for a speech he gave in 2013. Last September, he was convicted of terrorism charges and sentenced to serve more than four years in prison. He remains to be tried for further terrorism accusations.

The Strasbourg-based court called on Turkey to take "all necessary measures" to put an end to Demirtas’ pre-trial detention.

  • "The court found that the judicial authorities had extended Mr Demirtas’ detention on grounds that could not be regarded as ‘sufficient’ to justify its duration"

    European Court of Human Rights

"The court found that the judicial authorities had extended Mr Demirtas’ detention on grounds that could not be regarded as ‘sufficient’ to justify its duration," read a statement by the ECHR.

Pro-independence leaders called on Spain to release them and put in place precautionary measures that would allow them to carry out their role as political representatives.

Elected as MPs for Junts per Catalunya (JxCat) in an election last December, the three politicians were suspended from office following their indictment for the crime of rebellion.

Spanish courts also prevented Sànchez and Turull from being sworn in as president of the Catalan government.

Nine leaders in pre-trial jail

With the trial against independence leaders due to start in the coming months, there are nine people preemptively incarcerated for organizing a referendum and declaring independence last year.

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  • Former Catalan ministers Josep Rull (left) and Jordi Turull (by ACN)

  • Former Catalan ministers Josep Rull (left) and Jordi Turull (by ACN)