ERBIL, Kurdistan Region (Kurdistan24) - Turkish authorities on Thursday detained and imprisoned the country's youngest mayor, Rezan Zugurli (28) of the Lice district of the Kurdish Diyarbakir Province.
People of Lice elected Zugurli and Harun Erkus as their co-mayors with a record 91 percent of the vote in the 2014 municipal elections in Turkey.
Kurdistan 24's Diyarbakir Bureau reported that police arrested Zugurli while she was walking with her mother in the central Yenisehir district.
A local Kurdish news agency, DIHABER, said Zugurli's mom tried to prevent police, who took over a street in Yenisehir with their armored vehicles, from grabbing the young mayor by embracing and clinging to her daughter for 15 minutes.
"Police manhandled Zugurli and her mother, at some point dragging them through the street, leading the mother to fall to the ground," it said.
A citizen protesting the treatment of Zugurli was also arrested.
Zugurli was then brought to a Diyarbakir prison, along with her two-year-old child.
She was detained over a 2012 prison sentence, where a court condemned her to four years and two months for "committing a crime on behalf of a terror organization."
The court based its decision on Zugurli's 2011 participation in rallies in solidarity with Kurdish political prisoners who were staging a months-long hunger strike for broader rights.
She initially spent 13 months in jail in 2012 during her pretrial detention, and was released only after her lawyers brought the case to a higher court, seeking to overturn the sentence.
After the superior court upheld of the sentencing, authorities acted once again to jail her.
The Interior Ministry seized the administration of Lice Municipality in February 2017 and appointed a sub governor to run the township's affairs.
Zugurli's imprisonment is the latest in a massive government crackdown which began in 2015 against the Kurdish political movement in Turkey, which has mostly targeted the country's second largest opposition block, the Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP), and led to the seizure of over 80 Kurdish-run municipalities.
Along with the HDP's charismatic Co-leader Selahattin Demirtas, ten of the party's lawmakers, and hundreds of local officials, there are over 80 Kurdish mayors held in Turkish prisons.
President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his government argue the pro-Kurdish politicians act as a political front for the outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK), which is waging a three-decades-long guerrilla warfare against the army for Kurdish self-rule, a charge the HDP deny.
Editing by G.H. Renaud