Prosecutor opposes release of Kurdish deputy from prison

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The office of the chief public prosecutor in Turkey’s southeastern Diyarbakır province late on Friday opposed the release of pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) Kars deputy and party spokesperson Ayhan Bilgen, who was arrested on terror charges in January.

The prosecutor claimed that given the nature of the charges against Bilgen — membership in a terrorist organization — the conditions of probation would not be sufficient, only hours after the release of the Kurdish deputy.

Bilgen, along with another HDP deputy, Meral Danış Beştaş, was detained in January based on a decision by the Diyarbakır 5th Penal Court of Peace.

The Diyarbakır court issued arrest warrants for the two deputies due to an objection to their release filed by the Diyarbakır Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office.

The government has been criticized for stepping up a crackdown on Kurdish politicians.

There are currently 10 HDP deputies behind bars in Turkey including the co-chairs of the party after the release of Bilgen. 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.

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