Co-Chair of the pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) Figen Yüksekdağ has been handed down a prison sentence of one year for disseminating the propaganda of a terrorist organization. The decision was made by the İstanbul 22nd High Criminal Court.
Yüksekdağ was arrested in a police operation on Nov. 4 along with eight HDP deputies including the other HDP co-chair, Selahattin Demirtaş. Turkey’s Supreme Court of Appeals canceled the party membership of Yüksekdağ and stripped her of her parliamentary status on Feb. 21. The parliamentary status of Yüksekdağ was removed after the Supreme Court of Appeals upheld a jail sentence handed down in 2013.
Yüksekdağ was sentenced to 10 months for participating in the funeral ceremony of Yasemin Çiftçi, a member of the Marxist-Leninist Communist Party (MLKP) – a terrorist group affiliated with the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK). The Supreme Court of Appeals’ 16th Criminal Chamber approved the jail sentence for Yüksekdağ on Nov. 2, 2016.
Turkey has stepped up its crackdown on Kurdish politicians in recent months. Trustees have been appointed to dozens of municipalities in the country’s predominantly Kurdish Southeast, while hundreds of local Kurdish politicians have been arrested on terror charges. There are currently 13 HDP deputies behind bars. The developments have attracted widespread criticism from the region and Western countries. (turkishminute.com) April 11, 2017