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[UPDATE] Two HDP deputies released, 12 still in prison

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Pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) deputies Meral Danış Beştaş and Nursel Aydoğan were released by a court on Friday in the first hearing of proceedings in which they are being tried on terror charges.

Aydoğan was arrested on Nov. 4, 2017, while Beştaş was jailed on Jan. 31 as part of an investigation into the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party.

Underlining that she was kept in solitary confinement for three months, Akdoğan said her request to go to a hospital for health problems was rejected by prison authorities. Beştaş also said she was kept in solitary confinement for 32 days.

With Aydoğan and Bektaş’s release, the number of HDP deputies who are jailed has fallen to 12 from 14.

On Wednesday HDP deputy Burcu Çelik was arrested by a Muş court for “membership in an armed terrorist organization” and “attempting to destroy the unity of the state and nation.”

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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