Turkish court sentences pro-Kurdish HDP deputy to about 17 years in prison

A Turkish court on Thursday sentenced Pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) deputy İdris Baluken to 16 years and 8 months in prison, Habertürk reported.

Baluken who was arrested on Nov. 26, 2016, was rearrested on Feb. 21, 2017 over objection of the prosecutor after he was released on Jan. 30, 2017. Baluken, who was a member of the “İmralı Delegation” and a negotiator for peace talks between Turkish government and the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), is currently in prison in Kandıra Prison in the western province of İzmit.

The case was launched at Diyarbakır 8th High Criminal Court against Baluken on charges of membership in an armed terror group, disrupting the unity and integrity of the state, disseminating propaganda for a terror organization and taking part in illegal demonstrations. He was facing a jail sentence of up to 47 years.

Meanwhile, HDP’s Tunceli (Dersim) deputy Alican Önlü has been detained by police at Diyarbakır Courthouse where he went earlier today to monitor the hearing against Baluken. Önlü was reportedly detained in the scope of an “forced court appearance” order issued against him because he has not testified so far in two cases opened against him by Şırnak Chief Prosecutor’s Office.

Also on Thursday, Berivan Elter, an activist of the Tevgera Jinên Azad (Free Women’s Movement), was detained in Van city centre. According to a report by pro-Kurdish Fırat news agency, a police team took Elter to the police station and didn’t provide an explanation for the detention.

Turkey has stepped up its crackdown on Kurdish politicians since 2016. Trustees have been appointed to dozens of municipalities in the country’s predominantly Kurdish Southeast, while hundreds of local Kurdish politicians have been arrested on terror charges.

Nine HDP deputies including Co-chairperson Selahattin Demirtaş and former chairperson Figen Yüksekdağ are still in prison. Moreover, a total of 27 HDP deputies were detained and released by Turkish government after Nov. 4, 2016 over alleged links to the outlawed PKK. (SCF with turkishminute.com)

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