Jailed politician makes election speech via call to wife
ANKARA, Turkey (AP) — In an unusual election campaign, a jailed pro-Kurdish politician and presidential candidate in Turkey has delivered a speech from his prison cell via a telephone call to his wife and other family members — a video of which was later broadcast on Twitter.
Selahattin Demirtas described himself in the Wednesday speech as a “political hostage,” devoid of the right to a fair trial. He asked for votes in Turkey’s June 24 snap presidential and parliamentary elections, saying “anti-democratic practices” had turned the country into one of the most “unhappy and pessimistic” societies.
The 45-year-old former human rights lawyer was arrested and imprisoned in 2016 for alleged links to outlawed Kurdish militants.
He faces a 142-year sentence on charges of leading a terror organization and other crimes. Demirtas denies wrongdoing.
This story has been corrected to give the translation as “political hostage” rather than “prisoner”