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Trial of Turkey’s opposition leader starts without him in court

A court ruled that Selahattin Demirtas, the leader of Turkey’s second-biggest opposition party, could not attend his first hearing in person, increasing concerns his trial may not be fair.

Turkish opposition leader Selahattin Demirtas has spent more than a year in prison in pre-trial detention on terrorism charges, but on his first day in court, he was nowhere to be seen.

Judges ruled that Demirtas, the head of parliament’s third-biggest party, could not participate in person in a trial closely watched by rights group and Western governments, but instead would join by video link. Demirtas said the measure violated his rights and refused to participate in Thursday’s hearing.

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