[UPDATE] HDP deputy Lezgin Botan released after brief detention

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HDP deputy Lezgin Botan

Pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) Van deputy Lezgin Botan was released on Wednesday after being briefly detained on charges of insulting Turkish President Tayyip Erdoğan.

Botan was detained at Ferit Melen Airport on a warrant as part of an investigation launched by the Van Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office.

Botan, who was planning to go to Ankara, was taken to court.

The HDP deputy had been detained and released on Jan. 27 along with fellow deputy Adem Geveri due to their absence from hearings in a trial in which they are accused of membership in a terrorist organization and disseminating terrorist propaganda.

Botan was detained a second time on Jan. 30 and was released later the same day.

There are currently 11 HDP deputies behind bars in Turkey as the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) government stepped up a crackdown on Kurdish politicians last fall. 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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