Turkish court sentences pro-Kurdish HDP’s Baydemir to 17 months in prison

A Turkish criminal court in Diyarbakır has sentenced the pro-Kurdish People’s Democratic Party (HDP) spokesperson Osman Baydemir to one year, five months, and 15 days of imprisonment on Thursday. The court ruled that Baydemir, who is also an HDP deputy, has committed crime by “insulting an on-duty government employee.”

Prosecutors were asking for up to 3 years of imprisonment over Baydemir’s calling 3 Turkish police officers “fascists, and low-lives” during a confrontation over authorities’ banning of a rally in 2012 to draw attention to the plight of Kurdish political prisoners. His wife, Reyhan Yalçındağ Baydemir, was defending him as lawyer, according to a report by Kurdistan 24 news outlet.

Police have this year briefly arrested Baydemir two times in January and in June in relation to the case so far. It was not immediately clear when the authorities would act to detain Baydemir again—whose party continues to face a massive government crackdown since last year.

Turkey has already jailed HDP’s co-leader Selahattin Demirtas and 9 other deputies, along with 80 mayors and thousands of party members. The Turkish Parliament has ousted 5 of HDP deputies, bringing down the total number of party’s deputies from 59 to 54 at the 550-seat assembly.


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