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Turkish Parliament strips jailed HDP Co-chair Yüksekdağ of parliamentary membership

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The Turkish Parliament has stripped Figen Yüksekdağ, co-chair of the pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) who was jailed on terror charges in November, of her parliamentary status.

Yüksekdağ was arrested in a police operation on Nov.4 along with eight other HDP deputies including the other HDP co-chair, Selahattin Demirtaş.

The parliamentary status of Yüksekdağ was removed after Turkey’s Supreme Court of Appeals upheld a jail sentence handed down to her in 2013.
Yüksekdağ was sentenced to 10 months for participating in the funeral ceremony of Yasemin Çiftçi, a member of the Marxist-Leninist Communist Party (MLKP) – a terrorist group affiliated with the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK).
The Supreme Court of Appeals’ 16th Criminal Chamber approved the jail sentence for Yüksekdağ on Nov. 2, 2016.
Deputy Prime Minister Nurettin Canikli read out the Parliament decision to remove Yüksekdağ’s parliamentary membership during a session on Tuesday.
When the conviction of a member of parliament is approved by the Supreme Court of Appeals, the deputy’s parliamentary status is revoked in line with Article 84 of the Turkish Constitution and without any vote in Parliament.

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. There are currently 12 HDP deputies behind bars.

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

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