The Social Democracy Foundation has awarded the prize to the HDP's former co-chair, who has been behind bars since November 2016.
The Social Democracy Foundation (SODEV) has awarded the "Human Rights, Democracy, Peace and Solidarity Prize" to Selahattin Demirtas, the imprisoned former co-chair of the Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP).
His wife Basak Demirtas will receive the prize in a ceremony at Taksim Hill Hotel tomorrow (January 10).
The prize committee said it considered the imprisonment of Demirtas a "political arrest," stating that he was detained on November 2, 2016 with the state of emergency declared after the July 15 coup attempt being taken advantage of.
"The Selection Committee concluded that the stance Demirtas has taken in favor of human rights, democracy, peace and freedoms against the systematic violation of his fundamental constitutional rights strengthens the values that are mentioned in the name of the SODEV Prize," the committee stated.
Demirtas's "responsible and timely messages" on the issues of Turkey made "exceptional and key contribution to democracy, peace and the spirit of solidarity between different sections of the society," according to the committee.
Recalling that the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) ruled for the release of Demirtas on November 20, 2018, the reasons that were "made up" to keep Demirtas in prison resulted in further violations of rights, it said.
"2019 was a year in which the violations of human rights that Demirtas was subjected to and the devastation he suffered as a result grew. Nevertheless, Demirtas has not only preserved its responsible attitude and tone in 2019, but also strengthened it."
Independent members of the prize committee: Arzu Cerkezoglu, Can Atalay, Eren Keskin,
Ioanna Kucuradi, Kadri Gursel, Turkan Elci, Zulfu Livaneli
Permanent members: SODEV Chair Ertan Aksoy, SODEV Honorary Chair Ercan Karakas, SODEV former Chair Babur Atila, SODEV former Chair Erol Kizilelma, SODEV former Chair Aydin Cingi.
The Progressive Alliance, a Germany-based political entity that includes more than 130 parties and organizations, gave the "2019 Award for Special Political Courage" to Demirtas in October 2019.
Source: English Bianet