The Supreme Election Board has rejected an application from incarcerated intellectual Sevan Nisanyan to run as a deputy candidate representing the Liberal Democratic Party in the upcoming Nov. 1 general election, Today’s Zaman reports.
The Armenian-Turkish linguist is currently serving a sentence of 11 years after being found guilty of violating Law No. 2863 on Protection of Cultural and Natural Heritage by “deliberately causing harm to the protection of immovable cultural heritage.” Nisanyan was handed the sentence after building an extension to his home in the Aegean village of Sirince that was deemed to violate the Cultural and Natural Heritage Protection Act, under which his house is protected.
“The Supreme Election Board has informed us that Sevan Nişanyan will not be a candidate due to [having built an extension without a permit]. We knew it would be difficult to make Nisanyan a candidate but still, it is important to draw attention to the fact that he will be spending years in jail for not obtaining a stamp of approval,” Tarik Beyhan, the deputy secretary general of the LDP, told the Diken news portal.
Nisanyan is known for his outspoken criticism of the government and many commentators have alleged that his prison sentence is politically motivated. Beyhan once again repeated the claim that the extension to his house was used as an excuse to incarcerate him and added that it was important for the LDP to draw attention to the injustice.