HDP co-chair investigated for allegedly insulting judges at murder trial

Turkish prosecutors have launched an investigation into pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) co-chairperson Pervin Buldan on accusations that she insulted the panel of judges during a hearing in a murder trial on Wednesday, Turkish Minute reported, citing the state-run TRT Haber news website.

The first hearing in the trial of Onur Gencer, 27, who allegedly killed HDP employee Deniz Poyraz, 38, at the party’s İzmir office in June, was held at a high criminal court in İzmir on Wednesday.

The hearing, which was observed by HDP and other opposition party lawmakers as well as rights activists and lawyers, saw multiple disruptions, according to Turkish media, as law enforcement officers’ tolerance of Gencer and his provocative gestures sparked indignation among Poyraz’s relatives.

The İzmir Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office launched the investigation into Buldan, who was among the observers at the hearing, due to her remarks critical of the panel of judges.

“You can’t ask him questions so calmly. Treat the killer as a killer,” Buldan told the judges in frustration at the judges’ polite questioning of Gencer.

Buldan said the defendant is a murderer who received training from the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) in Manbij, northern Syria.

Gencer’s own Instagram account had shown the man working as a field medic alongside the Turkish Armed Forces (TSK) and the Free Syrian Army (FSA) in Manbij in early 2020.

Onur Gencer

HDP deputy Hüda Kaya told reporters in June that the HDP had received information that Gencer had been trained by SADAT, a Turkish private military contractor founded by military and civilian personnel close to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.

Gencer faces aggravated life on charges of premeditated murder and an additional seven years on charges of violating the privacy of a workplace and damaging buildings and property used by a political party.

He admitted to killing Poyraz and turned himself in to the police on the day of the murder and was arrested by a criminal court of peace the next day.

The murder of Poyraz came at a time of increased pressure on the party as it faces a closure case on terrorism charges.

Hundreds of HDP politicians including two former co-chairs are behind bars on politically motivated charges.

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