HDP spokesperson Bilgen arrested on terror charges

Pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) deputy and party spokesperson Ayhan Bilgen was arrested on terror charges on Tuesday, one day after his detention on an order from a Diyarbakır court.Bilgen, along with another HDP deputy Meral Danış Beştaş, was detained on Monday night based on a decision from the Diyarbakır 5th Penal Court of Peace. Beştaş was arrested in the early hours of Tuesday.

Beştaş was also briefly detained on Saturday, while Bilgen was held by police for a short time on Sunday.

The Diyarbakır court issued arrest warrants for the two deputies due to an objection to their release filed by the Diyarbakır Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office.

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 Turkish courts in late 2016 arrested 11 HDP deputies, including the party’s Co-chairs Selahattin Demirtaş and Figen Yüksekdağ. One of these deputies, İdris Baluken, was released from jail on Monday. With the arrest of two more HDP deputies, there are currently 12 HDP deputies behind the bars.

Meanwhile, Bilgen’s lawyer Mehmet Emin Aktar said pro-government media outlets reported the arrest even before the court decision was made, hinting at a politically-motivated ruling.






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