Pro-Kurdish party fear for imprisoned Kurdish leader’s life after falling unconscious
ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – The pro-Kurdish Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP) co-chairs, Pervin Buldan and Sezai Temelli, on Monday called on the Turkish government to transfer the jailed former HDP leader Selahattin Demirtaş to a hospital after he reportedly lost consciousness in prison.
The HDP's jailed former co-chair lost consciousness after having breathing difficulties and chest pain on November 26, sources close to him asserted.
However, Turkish authorities refused to transfer him to a hospital, against the prison doctor's recommendations. His cell mate, Abdullah Zeydan, provided initial first aid response.
“The prison doctor requested that Demirtaş be referred to three different departments: cardiology, neurology and gastroenterology. We, as his lawyers, have requested that he be transferred to the hospital immediately in our meeting with the prison administration,” lawyer Aygul Demirtaş, who is also his sister, wrote on Twitter.
“Demirtaş still has not been transferred to the hospital after 7 days. In light of such a vital health problems, not being transferred to the hospital means that he is clearly being kept at a risk to his life,” she added.
The HDP co-chairs called on the AKP [Justice and Development Party] government and the Ministry of Justice to make an immediate statement “regarding the information provided by the lawyers of our former co-chair Mr. Selahattin Demirtaş.”
“What is the current health condition of Mr. Demirtaş? Why was he not immediately taken to the hospital? The required procedures for Demirtaş’ transfer to a fully equipped hospital should be carried out without delay,” they stated.
“It is absolutely unacceptable that Mr. Demirtaş has not been referred to a hospital, and the authorities are fully responsible for this situation.”
The HDP Deputy Parliamentary Speaker, Mithat Sancar, and Parliamentary Group Deputies will be visiting Edirne Prison, where Demirtaş has been imprisoned for more than three years.
Demirtaş has been in pre-trial detention since 2016, serving a sentence of four years and eight months on a separate charge. On September 2, a Turkish court ruled for the imprisoned Kurdish leader to be released. But that same month, Turkish prosecutors launched a new investigation requesting his continued imprisonment.
If convicted guilty, Demirtaş could be sentenced to 142 years in jail.
Editing by Nadia Riva