Turkish court sentences pro-Kurdish HDP deputy Irmak to 10 years in prison

Pro-Kurdish HDP's Hakkari deputy Selma Irmak

A Turkish court in Gaziantep province has sentenced pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) deputy Selma Irmak to 10 years in prison on terrorism charges.

The Gaziantep Provincial Court upheld a decision by a lower court that sentenced Irmak to 10 years in prison for “membership in a terrorist organization” and “spreading terrorist propaganda.”

Irmak was arrested on November 4, 2016 and delivered her defense to the court via a closed circuit camera system. Irmak’s lawyers appealed the decision to the Gaziantep Provincial Court, but the court upheld the ruling of the lower court that sentenced Irmak to 10 years in prison.

Turkey’s Interior Ministry on Monday announced that 845 people have been detained on terror charges due to their protests or posts on social media critical of a Turkish military incursion in the northern Syrian town of Afrin.

The Turkish government’s crackdown on the Kurdish political movement began in late 2016 with the arrest of high profile politicians, including the party’s then co-chairs, Figen Yüksekdağ and Selahattin Demirtaş, which led to the detention of at least 5,000 members of the HDP, including 80 mayors. Trustees have been appointed to dozens of municipalities in the country’s predominantly Kurdish Southeast.

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