11 members of the pro-Kurdish HDP sentenced on terrorism charges

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Eleven members of the pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) have been sentenced to a total of 83 years, 10 months and 14 days on conviction of membership in the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) and disseminating terrorist propaganda, the Mezopotamya news agency reported.

The 24th hearing of the trial in which 10 people from the İstanbul Provincial Council of the HDP, including former co-chairs Doğan Erbaş and Aysel Güzel, and one person outside party leadership, were charged with “membership in a terrorist organization” and “disseminating propaganda for a terrorist organization” was held on Thursday at the İstanbul 14th High Criminal Court.

The PKK is listed as a terrorist group by Turkey and much of the international community.

The court sentenced Erbaş to 14 years, nine months and Güzel to seven years, six months in prison. The other defendants were handed down sentences ranging between one and a half and 12 years  on the same charges.

The HDP is the second-largest opposition group in parliament.

A government crackdown on Kurdish parties and politicians in Turkey reached new heights following a coup attempt in the country in July 2016.

Dozens of democratically elected Kurdish mayors were removed from office, while a large number of Kurdish politicians, including the former co-chairs of the HDP, were jailed following the coup attempt.

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