Jailed deputy of Turkey’s pro-Kurdish HDP goes on hunger strike

Leyla Güven, a jailed deputy of Turkey’s pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP), announced on Wednesday that she had started a hunger strike, the Diken news website reported.

Güven’s decision came after the prison administration refused to bring her to court for a hearing on Wednesday when she objected to being handcuffed during her transportation.

She was elected as a deputy from Hakkari province in the general election on June 24; however, the court refused to release her despite her newly gained immunity from prosecution.

The court on Wednesday once again rejected her lawyer’s request for release. The next hearing is scheduled for Dec. 26. Güven was detained on Jan. 31 due to her criticism of a Turkish military offensive in northern Syria. The indictment demands between 17.5 and 31,5 years in prison.

The HDP on Sunday held protests throughout the country against the detention and arrest of 6,000 members of the party. The HDP protests took place on the second anniversary of the arrest of 11 HDP deputies on terrorism charges for their alleged ties to the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK). Almost one in three members of the HDP has been detained since a ceasefire between the PKK and the Turkish state collapsed in July 2015.

Among those arrested were 43 HDP provincial co-chairs and 101 HDP district co-chairs as well as former co-chairs Selahattin Demirtaş and Figen Yüksekdağ, who remain in jail facing hundreds of years in prison on charges of terrorism.

HDP Co-chair Sezai Temelli, who held a press conference at party headquarters in Ankara, highlighted that around 6,000 members of the HDP are currently behind bars, Diken reported.

A total of 53 HDP mayors are still under arrest, Temelli added, while recalling that the government had appointed trustees to 96 municipalities in Turkey’s Kurdish-dominated southeastern provinces. (SCF with turkishminute.com)

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