Banned Kurdish deputy appeals election body decision in European court

TODAYSZAMAN

The lawyer of a Kurdish deputy who was in June stripped of his right to assume his post in Parliament by Turkey’s Supreme Election Board (YSK) on Friday appealed the board’s decision at the European Court of Human Rights.
Hatip Dicle was elected as an independent deputy for the predominantly Kurdish province of Diyarbak?r in Turkey’s parliamentary elections held on June 12. However, the YSK in late June voted unanimously to strip Dicle of his right to hold office over an earlier separate terrorism-related conviction, which led to outrage among the pro-Kurdish party and its supporters.
Dicle was convicted of “disseminating the propaganda of the outlawed [Kurdistan Workers’ Party] PKK” in 2009 by the Ankara 11th High Criminal Court, and the Supreme Court of Appeals upheld the decision in March of this year. The court sentenced Dicle to one year, eight months in prison on terrorism charges.

Dicle’s laywer, Levent Kanat, filed an appeal with the European Court of Human Rights on the grounds that the YSK decision’s to strip Dicle of his right to assume his post, although he was confirmed as a deputy after the elections, was against international law. Dicle’s lawyers earlier appealed the ban in Turkey’s Constitutional Court, but the appeal was overturned. The pro-Kurdish Peace and Democracy Party (BDP), the party which endorsed Dicle in his election campaign, is boycotting Parliament in protest of the ban on Dicle.

Dicle is also currently on trial in the 6th Diyarbak?r High Criminal Court as a suspect in a separate investigation into the outlawed PKK’s alleged secret urban branch, the Kurdish Communities Union (KCK). He was detained in December 2009 as part of the KCK probe and has been in custody since then.


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