HDP deputy Baluken released from jail

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İdris Baluken, one of 11 pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) deputies who were arrested in late 2016, has been released from jail.

Baluken, who is also HDP parliamentary group deputy chairman, was released from prison by a Diyarbakır court on Monday.

Upon his release from prison, Baluken said he cannot feel any joy over regaining his freedom as long as all the other politicians [from the HDP] remain in jail.

The number of HDP deputies who are behind bars has fallen to 10 with Baluken’s release.

A case was launched against Baluken on charges of membership in an armed terror group, disrupting the unity and integrity of the state, disseminating propaganda for a terror organization and taking part in illegal demonstrations. He is facing a jail sentence of up to 15 years.

Turkey has stepped up its crackdown on Kurdish politicians in recent months. Trustees have been appointed to dozens of municipalities in the country’s predominantly Kurdish Southeast, while hundreds of local Kurdish politicians have been arrested on terror charges.

The developments have attracted widespread criticism from the region and Western countries.

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