ERBIL, Kurdistan Region (Kurdistan 24) – A pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) lawmaker was released on Sunday after he was detained by Turkish authorities the previous day.
The Criminal Court of First Instance in Turkey’s southeastern Kurdish province of Sirnak had filed an indictment against HDP lawmaker Osman Baydemir on charges of “violating the assembly and demonstration” due to his attending a rally in Sirnak’s Cizre district in 2015.
The HDP lawmaker was arrested in the western province of Izmir where he gave his testimony at the Izmir Courthouse via a video conference on Sunday morning before being released, Turkey’s Hurriyet Daily News reported.
Baydemir’s continued activism and struggle for the Kurdish cause in Turkey has not been without controversy.
In early December, the Kurdish MP was banished from the Turkey Parliament for uttering the word “Kurdistan” during a speech.
The punishment was the first execution of a ban on lawmakers’ use of the word passed last July by President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP)-dominated Parliament.
When he was asked by the Deputy Speaker Aysenur Bahcekapili of the AKP to explain where Kurdistan was, Baydemir put his palm on his chest and said Kurdistan was there.
“This. This very place is Kurdistan, Mrs. Speaker. Kurdistan is right here,” he said, gesturing toward his heart.
AKP lawmakers immediately demanded punishment for Baydemir in accordance with the legislative by-laws banning the word.
Following an electronic vote, the HDP lawmaker was suspended for two legislative sessions and given a fine adding to an ongoing crackdown against his party that has seen Co-leader Selahattin Demirtas, nine lawmakers, 80 mayors, and thousands of members imprisoned.