The Turkish Parliament has stripped jailed pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) Diyarbakır deputy Nursel Aydoğan of her parliamentary status after a sentence of 56 months, seven days was upheld by a regional court in Gaziantep.
Aydoğan was tried at the Diyarbakır 2nd High Criminal Court on terror charges for participating in five marches and funerals of some outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) militants in 2011. The court handed down a jail sentence of 56 months, seven days to Aydoğan on charges of committing a crime on behalf of a terror organization without being a member of it. The sentence was upheld by the 3rd Criminal Chamber of the Gaziantep Regional Court. The court then sent a notice to the Justice Ministry for the dropping of Aydoğan’s parliamentary status.
The notice was first sent to the Prime Ministry by the Justice Ministry and then to Parliament. Aydoğan was stripped of her parliamentary status after the court decision was read out in Parliament.
In February, the parliamentary status of jailed HDP co-chairperson Figen Yüksekdağ was also removed after Turkey’s Supreme Court of Appeals upheld a jail sentence handed down to her in 2013.
Both Aydoğan and Yüksekdağ were arrested in a police operation on Nov. 4 along with seven other HDP deputies including the other HDP co-chair, Selahattin Demirtaş.
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 10 HDP deputies behind bars.
The developments have attracted widespread criticism from the region and Western countries.