Pro-Kurdish leader faces years in prison for 'insulting' Erdogan

The indictment filed by a Turkish public prosecutor in the Kurdish city of Diyarbakir came a day after the demand of another prison term of up to 142 years for Demirtas on terrorism-related charges.

ERBIL, Kurdistan Region (Kurdistan24) - The co-leader of Turkey's pro-Kurdish Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP) Selahattin Demirtas on Wednesday faced a prison sentence of up to four years in jail for allegedly insulting President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

The indictment filed by a Turkish public prosecutor in the Kurdish city of Diyarbakir came a day after the demand of another prison term of up to 142 years for Demirtas on terrorism-related charges.

Demirtas denied having ties to the banned Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) and insulting Erdogan in a Diyarbakir trial which he attended via teleconference from a supermax prison in the city of Edirne in the first week of the new year.

Both cases in which the Kurdish opposition leader, also a lawmaker at the Turkish Parliament for Istanbul, were prepared by the same prosecutor, reported the government-run Anadolu Agency, citing anonymous judicial sources.

Police detained Demirtas and his party's other co-chair Figen Yuksekdag as well as 11 other lawmakers in early November 2016.

Yuksekdag, on the other hand, faced 83 years of imprisonment on Tuesday for allegedly being a member of a "terror group" and calling a fallen Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) fighter a "martyr" in an October 2015 speech.

Of the 59 lawmakers of the HDP, ten remain in pre-trial detention, with Demirtas at the Edirne prison where authorities have denied him visits by HDP and European Parliament officials and Yuksekdag at a prison east of Istanbul.

Turkey's Parliament last week passed an 18-article reform package of the Constitution aimed at empowering Erdogan without the jailed HDP MPs present.

 

Editing by Ava Homa