Jailed Kurdish politician faces 43 years in prison on propaganda charges

A new indictment seeks a prison sentence of up to 43 years for a Kurdish politician who was already convicted of terrorism-related charges and has been behind bars since late 2020, Turkish Minute reported.

Leyla Güven, a former lawmaker from the pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) who was ousted from the Turkish Parliament in June 2020 and was co-chairperson of the Democratic Society Congress (DTK), is facing the lengthy prison sentence on charges of disseminating terrorist propaganda in her social media posts and four speeches for the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK).

The PKK, recognized as a terrorist organization by Turkey and much of the international community, has been waging a bloody campaign in Turkey’s Southeast since 1984.

The first hearing in Güven’s trial was held at the Diyarbakır 9th High Criminal Court on Wednesday where she attended via IT Voice and Image System (SEGBİS) from the Elazığ Prison for Women.

Güven is accused of praising the PKK, its jailed leader Abdullah Öcalan and its armed violence in her speeches and social media posts.

However, Güven said her speeches were incorrectlly translated from Kurdish into Turkish and asked for an expert opinion and additional time to present her defense.

The politician is already serving a prison sentence of 22 years, three months and an additional five years as a result of two separate convictions on terrorism-related charges.

The ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) increased its crackdown on Kurds, especially after the collapse of Ankara’s reconciliation process with the outlawed PKK in 2015.

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