Imprisoned Kurdish MP set free in Turkey
ERBIL, Kurdistan Region (Kurdistan 24) – A regional Turkish court in the city of Gaziantep on Saturday decided to release pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) lawmaker Besime Konca from a prison sentence of two years and six months upon her lawyers’ appeal.
Konca received the sentence in early June in a local court in Batman on the grounds of “terrorist” propaganda for the banned Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) fighting Turkish troops for larger Kurdish rights.
Kurdistan 24’s Diyarbakir bureau said Konca’s lawyers argued her unjust imprisonment between 2009-2014 during the massive Kurdistan Communities Union (KCK) trials should be grounds to set her free.
The Gaziantep court agreed which led to her release from a prison in the northwestern Turkish province of Kocaeli.
In the meantime, a trial against her and eight other lawmakers continued in Diyarbakir.
Meanwhile, in the neighboring city of Batman, Turkish police briefly detained MP Saadet Becerikli who was at the airport.
A courthouse decided to release Becerikli after an interrogation over a speech she gave last year on a 2015 Islamic State (IS) twin bombing in Ankara at a pro-Kurdish peace rally that killed 109 people.
In May 2016, the Turkish Parliament passed a bill proposed by the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) that stripped lawmakers of immunity.
The main opposition the Republican People’s Party (CHP) and the minority block of the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) supported the bill that until now has disproportionately targeted the HDP.
The crackdown on the HDP has seen its Co-leader Selahattin Demirtas and 10 other lawmakers imprisoned.
Editing by Karzan Sulaivany