2 pro-Kurdish HDP deputies sentenced by Turkish court on terrorism charges

İmam Taşçıer (L)-Alican Önlü

A high criminal court in Diyarbakır on Thursday handed down jail sentences to two lawmakers from the pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) on charges of terrorism.

İmam Taşçıer of Diyarbakır province was given a prison sentence of three years, one month on charges of committing crimes on behalf of a terrorist organization despite not being a member of it.

Alican Önlü, who represents Tunceli province, was found guilty of spreading terrorist propaganda and sentenced to one year, six months in prison. Önlü was accused of transporting a militant of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) to the hospital and attending a militant’s funeral.

The court rejected the defendants’ early request that the trial be halted since deputies acquire parliamentary immunity upon election.

 The Kurdish political movement has come under intense pressure from the current government of President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, who is bent on marginalizing pro-Kurdish political organizations with the help of a military crackdown and abuse of the criminal justice system.

In its report titled “Kurdish Political Movement under Crackdown in Turkey: The Case of the HDP,” SCF gives a snapshot of what has happened since February 2015, when HDP representatives and Justice and Development Party (AKP) ministers came together for the last time to publicly discuss how to move forward in resolving the Kurdish problem, coming up with a deal known as the Dolmabahçe Agreement. Erdoğan torpedoed the agreement to win nationalists and launched a campaign of stigmatizing, demonizing and marginalizing the most substantial Kurdish political movement in Turkey’s history.

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