The Constitutional Court in Turkey has ruled that the remand in custody of former Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) MP Leyla Güven for posting social media messages criticising Turkey’s attack on Afrin was a violation of her rights, MA reports.
The Court stated that since Güven had been elected a member of parliament in the elections on 24 June 2018 and as such had parliamentary immunity, her remand in custody was a violation of those rights.
Güven was granted bail, but was remanded in custody when Diyarbakır Public Prosecution appealed this decision. The Constitutional Court ruled that the remand in custody was a “violation of her right to personal liberty and security”.
Leyla Güven, former HDP MP, co-chair of the Democratic Socities Congress (DTK) and mayor of Viranşehir (Wêranşar) district in Urfa (Riha) province, southeast Turkey, was detained on 22 January 2018, and formally arrested nine days later for her criticism of Turkey’s cross-border military operation, dubbed “Olive Branch” in Afrin, northern Syria.
When Güven was elected as an MP in June 2018, she was granted immunity, and a judge ordered that she be released on bail. However, the prosecution appealed and the decision was reversed before her release.
Güven went on a hunger strike on 7 November 2018 to protest against the solitary confinement conditions imposed on Abdullah Öcalan, the imprisoned leader of the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK).
She was eventually released in January 2019, while still on hunger strike. She continued the hunger strike until 26 May 2019, when she ended it on news of a relative easing in Öcalan’s prison conditions.
Before being taken to hospital for treatment after her 200-day long hunger strike, she made a statement from a wheelchair, saying, “The result of this resistance is a victory for the peoples of Turkey”.
On 4 June 2020, she was dismissed from parliament and re-arrested. She was released on 9 June only to be arrested yet again on 22 December 2020, one day after being sentenced to a prison term of 22 years for alleged ‘membership of a terror organisation.’
Güven was awarded Honorary Citizenship of Paris on 4 February 2019.