Turkey sentences former pro-Kurdish HDP leader to 18 months for interview

Numerous legal actions are going on against Yuksekdag, as prosecutors demand imprisonment of up to 83 years.
author_image Ari Khalidi

ERBIL, Kurdistan Region (Kurdistan24) - A Turkish penal court in capital Ankara sentenced Figen Yuksekdag, the former co-leader of the pro-Kurdish Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP) to one year and six months in prison on Tuesday for an interview with German media.

Yuksekdag who has been in detention since November 2016 at a prison in the Kocaeli province just east of Istanbul did not attend her trial via teleconference, said Kurdistan24 Ankara bureau.

In a 2015 interview with the German public broadcaster Deutsche Welle, Yuksekdag rejected government's accusations that the HDP was a political front for the outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) but stated that the "PKK is a people's liberation movement. At the same time, it is fighting for democracy and equality."

The Ankara court ruled that those words constituted propaganda for a "terrorist" organization when giving the punishment for Yuksekdag.

Yuksekdag is already serving a ten month's prison sentence over her conviction in a 2013 terror-related trial.

In February, the Turkish Parliament announced that Yuksekdag was stripped off her lawmaker status, a first in decades of modern Turkey's history.

Since then another court forced her out of the office of HDP leadership, and the party last month had to elect a new co-head, Serpil Kemalbay.

Numerous legal actions are going on against Yuksekdag, as prosecutors demand imprisonment of up to 83 years.

The sentencing of Yuksekdag came as Turkish Interior Ministry on Monday announced that two HDP lawmakers Tugba Hezer and Faysal Sariyildiz could face a loss of citizenship along 128 others if they did not come back from abroad in 90 days.

A government crackdown on HDP that gained pace in the aftermath of the summer 2016 military coup attempt against the rule of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has seen over seven thousand people jailed, including the party's co-leader Selahattin Demirtas and 11 other MPs.

 

Editing by Ava Homa