ERBIL, Kurdistan Region (Kurdistan24) - A Turkish court in the Kurdish city of Diyarbakir on Tuesday acquitted the prominent politician and Sakharov Laureate Leyla Zana in a 'terror' related trial in which prosecutors were asking up to 20 years in prison.
The indictment against Zana, a lawmaker for the pro-Kurdish Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP), argued she was a member of the "terrorist" Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK).
Other accusations Zana faced included "praising a crime and criminals" and "attending illegal meetings and walks despite warnings by authorities not to do so."
Kurdistan24's Diyarbakir Bureau said the judges deemed allegations made against her "insufficient" to warrant any punishment.
Police briefly detained her in February, only to release her after an interrogation was carried out at a Diyarbakir courthouse.
Zana herself did not attend the trial, relying on her defense attorney to present her case.
The acquittal of Zana is a first in the mass government crackdown in Turkey which has seen thousands of Kurdish politicians, including local party officials, over 80 elected mayors and a dozen lawmakers jailed.
The HDP's charismatic Co-chair Selahattin Demirtas and the party's former leader and ousted lawmaker Figen Yuksekdag remain imprisoned along ten other MPs.
Despite her winning a seat in the November 2015 snap elections for the Agri constituency, Zana has not been able to attend parliamentary sessions and by law cannot enjoy privileges MPs are entitled.
Her alteration of the phrase "the Turkish nation" to "the nation of Turkey" in the lawmakers' oath for taking office during the Parliament's opening ceremony following the elections led to the Speaker barring her from the legislative process.
Due to Zana's refusal to retake the oath, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan last year ruled out holding any meetings with her in the hopes of launching a new phase of peace talks to address the revived, decades-long warfare between the Turkish army and PKK.
In a letter to the Turkish Parliament's Speaker Ismail Kahraman on Wednesday, she broke her long-held silence to criticize a draft bylaw put forward by the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) and its far-right ally, the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP).
The law regarding parliamentary procedures, if passed, will put an end to her lawmaker status in current limbo, effectively stripping her off a salary, a secretary, advisors' budget, and an official office.
Zana said the current oath MPs have to take is one of the legacies of a junta government that seized power from civilian authorities in a 1980 military coup and stated she could not "in any moral sense" bring herself to swear on a text putschists wrote.
The same draft Zana attacked also stipulates the banning of the word "Kurdistan" in Parliament, among other terms and phrases such as "Armenian genocide" and "Kurdish provinces."
Zana rose to prominence in 1991, after being elected as the first Kurdish woman in the Turkish Parliament.
Her wearing of a headband with the three colors of green, red and yellow found in the flag of Kurdistan and taking the oath in Kurdish during the 1991 swearing-in ceremony resulted in her arrest by police in the Parliament's yard.
Later in 1994, a court sentenced her to 15 years of incarceration for "treason and membership in the PKK," because of a speech she gave on Kurdish rights during a visit to the United States.
Editing by G.H. Renaud