Turkey frees Kurdish politician with dementia from jail

Kurdish politician Aysel Tuğluk was released from jail in northwest Turkey late Thursday after a medical report that her dementia did not allow her to remain behind bars, Turkish Minute reported, citing Agence France-Presse reported.

Tuğluk, 57, was the deputy co-chair of the pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) before her arrest in 2016.

The prosecutor’s office in Kocaeli province postponed Tuğluk’s sentence after a medical assessment that staying in jail threatened her life, private broadcaster NTV reported.

She was released from prison on Thursday evening and welcomed by a group of people outside the prison.

In August, Turkey’s Constitutional Court rejected a plea for her release even though she was diagnosed with dementia but ordered that she receive regular neurological and psychiatric treatment in hospital.

Tuğluk was sentenced in 2018 to 10 years in prison for membership of a “terrorist organization.”

Her supporters believe she developed dementia after witnessing Turkish nationalists attack her mother’s 2017 funeral in Ankara, which the authorities allowed her to attend.

Tuğluk was arrested for her activities with the Democratic Society Congress (DTK), an organization that Turkish authorities consider linked to the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), which Ankara and its Western allies have blacklisted as a terrorist organization.

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