Turkish gov’t jails former Kurdish deputy Ata on charges of ‘terrorist propaganda’

Kurdish politician Ayla Akat Ata.

A former Kurdish deputy representing the southeastern province of Batman, Ayla Akat Ata, was arrested by a Turkish court on Tuesday. Ata was detained by police on Monday within the scope of an investigation conducted by the office of the chief prosecutor in the eastern province of Ardahan.

Ata, a former deputy of the pro-Kurdish Peace and Democracy Party (BDP), a forerunner of the pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP), was detained by the anti-terror branch of the police in the southeastern province of Diyarbakır. The investigation over “terrorist propaganda” in Ardahan was about a speech she made in the district of Göle in 2015, it added.

Ata, was arrested on Oct. 30, 2016 in relation to another investigation carried out by the public prosecutor in Diyarbakır and was imprisoned until May 4, 2017. At the end of the ongoing trial, she might face a sentence of 95 years in jail.

Selahattin Demirtaş and Figen Yüksekdağ, the former co-chairs of the HDP, are currently behind bars over similar charges, while the deputy status of seven HDP MPs has been revoked. 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 have been arrested on terror charges. There are currently 9 HDP deputies behind bars. The developments have attracted widespread criticism from the region and Western countries.

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