Kurdish politician ousted from parliament sentenced to 22 years in prison: report

A high criminal court in southeastern Turkey has handed down a jail sentence of 22 years, three months on terrorism charges to Leyla Güven, who was ousted from the Turkish Parliament in June, Turkish Minute reported, citing the Anadolu news agency.

The Diyarbakır 9th High Criminal Court, which heard Güven’s trial, issued an arrest warrant for the former deputy.

Güven, who stood trial due to her statements critical of a Turkish military operation in the Afrin region of Syria, was given the jail sentence on charges of membership in a terrorist organization and two counts of disseminating terrorist propaganda.

The pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) had nominated Güven as a member of parliament from Hakkari province in the 2018 general election.

Güven was among three deputies along with HDP deputy Musa Farisoğulları and main opposition Republican People’s party (CHP) deputy Enis Berberoğlu who were ousted from parliament in June after the country’s top appeals court upheld their convictions on terrorism and espionage charges.

Güven and Farisoğulları were charged with links to the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) and Berberoğlu with disclosing government secrets.

Since a failed coup attempt in July 2016, the Turkish government has used state of emergency powers and sweeping anti-terrorism legislation to enact a widespread purge against the critics of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.

Thousands of politicians, civil servants, journalists, academics, lawyers and members of the military have been jailed over alleged links to the PKK and to Fethullah Gülen, US based Turkish cleric accused by Erdoğan of masterminding the failed putsch. Gülen strongly denies any involvement in the failed coup.

The Turkish government has also targeted the HDP aggressively, unseating its dozens of democratically elected mayors and arresting dozens of party politicians on politically motivated charges.

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