Turkish court bars HDP deputy Yıldırım from politics and sentences to prison

HDP Parliamentary Group Deputy Chair Ahmet Yıldırım

The pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) Parliamentary Group Deputy Chair Ahmet Yıldırım has been sentenced to 1 year and 2 months in prison by Muş 2nd Penal Court in a case opened against him for allegedly insulting Turkey’s autocratic President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. While Yıldırım was also barred from politics, the court has rejected the demand for the postponement of sentence or conversion of imprisonment into a fine.

In a press statement about the curfew in Şırnak’s Cizre district on 12 September 2015, Yıldırım had said: “The would-be padishah in the Palace and all those around him will be prosecuted. I am saying it clearly, Tayyip Erdoğan is not any cleaner than Tansu Çiller.”

A summary of proceedings was issued for Yıldırım due to these remarks and he was later sued for “insulting the President” after the legal arrangement for the removal of parliamentary immunities went into effect.

During the fourth hearing in the case, Muş 2nd Penal Court sentenced Yıldırım to 1 year in prison for “insulting the President” and increased the penalty to 1 year and 2 months for “committing the offense in public”.

The court also barred Yıldırım from politics and ruled to deprive him of some rights. Yıldırım’s lawyers have appealed to Erzurum Regional Administrative Court against the court decision.

A total of 1,080 people were convicted of insulting Erdoğan in 2016, according to data from Turkey’s Justice Ministry. Data also showed that 4,936 cases were launched against people on charges of insult in 2016.

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 hundreds of local Kurdish politicians as well as 11 HDP deputies including the party’s co-chairs are behind bars on terror charges.

July 3, 2017

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