ERBIL, Kurdistan Region (Kurdistan 24) – A Turkish court in the Kurdish city of Diyarbakir on Thursday upheld a previously reversed conviction for the Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) lawmaker Abdullah Zeydan, sentencing him to eight years, one month, and 15 days in prison.
Authorities already hold him along with HDP’s Co-leader Selahattin Demirtas in a supermax prison in the northwestern city of Edirne since late 2016.
MP Zeydan of Hakkari was being tried for the second time after a regional higher court in the city of Gaziantep overturned the same sentence three months ago.
Prosecutors accused him of “aiding a terrorist organization and disseminating its propaganda,” Kurdistan 24’s Diyarbakir bureau reported.
“This was just another act in the same play. The same court gave the same sentence overturned by a higher court. Why do we need higher courts then?” A fellow MP, Ahmet Yildirim, told reporters outside the courthouse.
“The decision was clear before the trial. There was no need for the lawyers to make a defense,” he said, adding the order was from “the higher offices.”
Yildirim also relayed that the judge told one of Zeydan’s lawyers that he was “irritating” him.
The judge then went on filing a criminal complaint against the lawyer.
Yildirim said the judge was threatening the defense and violated the universal right to a fair trial.
Police arrested Zeydan along with 12 other HDP lawmakers including the party’s Co-chairs Demirtas and Figen Yuksekdag in home raids in various cities in November 2016 when President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s administration launched a massive crackdown on the Kurdish political movement.
Prison authorities initially kept Zeydan and Demirtas in solitary cells for about a month, according to the HDP.
A separate indictment demanded 20 years of imprisonment for the MP who joined several meetings, walks, and funerals of fallen Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) fighters in 2015 and 2016.
One of the charges brought against him was his attendance at an August 2015 funeral for a US-backed Syrian Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) fighter who died battling the Islamic State in Syria.
Editing by Karzan Sulaivany