Jailed Kurdish politician Selahattin Demirtaş was flown to Turkey’s Kurdish-majority southeastern province of Diyarbakır (Amed) on Tuesday to visit his mother, who is in intensive care with kidney failure and pneumonia.
Sadiye Demirtaş, Selahattin’s mother, was hospitalised three days ago in a private Diyarbakır hospital. According to the hospital, her health condition is stable.
Demirtaş, former co-chair of the obsolete pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP), has been held behind bars in the northwestern province of Edirne since 2016, despite the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) previously confirming that Demirtaş’s imprisonment was ‘politically motivated’ and ordering his immediate release.
The pro-Kurdish People’s Equality and Democracy Party (DEM) confirmed in a statement that the politician had requested permission from the prison administration to visit his mother after learning of her illness. The prison accepted the request and transferred him to Diyarbakır under heavy security.
Footage showed a heavy police presence outside the hospital where Demirtaş’s mother was being treated. The hospital was under tight security and the press not allowed to enter, sources said. Demirtaş’s wife, Başak Demirtaş, and his siblings were also at the hospital.
The politician’s father, Tahir Demirtaş, died on 31 December. As an act of protest at being “held as a political hostage”, Demirtaş did not request permission from prison authorities to attend his father’s funeral.
After a five-hour visit with his mother, Demirtaş was immediately taken to the airport for transfer back to prison in Edirne.