PACE President: The place of parliamentarians is not in prison

Statement by PACE President Liliane Maury Pasquier regarding the situation imprisoned MPs in Turkey:

The Assembly is closely monitoring the situation of parliamentarians and former parliamentarians currently in detention in Turkey. The sentencing on 7 September of the former co-President of the pro-Kurdish HDP party Selahattin Demirtas and former HDP parliamentarian Sirri Süreyya Önder to several years’ imprisonment for statements made in 2013 is of particular concern to me, as is the situation of other parliamentarians and former opposition parliamentarians in detention or under prosecution for ‘terrorist’ acts,” said Liliane Maury Pasquier, PACE President.

The place of parliamentarians must not be in prison: freedom of expression is at the heart of the exercise of our parliamentary mandates. It must be protected and guaranteed, in accordance with the well-established case-law of the European Court of Human Rights. It is a cornerstone of the proper functioning of our democracies - and an essential condition for the respect of human rights that is incumbent on all Council of Europe member States.

We must engage, therefore, in a dialogue with the authorities and parliamentarians of Turkey, to find a solution and to ensure that the parliamentarians and former parliamentarians currently in detention can be released and exercise their political activity as they should in a democracy. The recent launch by the authorities of the implementation of the Action Plan for the Prevention of Violations of the European Convention on Human Rights offers a good opportunity in this context to strengthen co-operation, and the Assembly is ready to play its part in this process,” concluded the President.

September 12, 2018