Pro-Kurdish HDP deputy sentenced to 16 years in prison

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Former HDP deputy İdris Baluken

A Turkish court on Thursday sentenced Pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) deputy İdris Baluken to 16 years and 8 months in prison, Habertürk reported.

Baluken who was arrested on Nov. 26, 2016, was rearrested on Feb. 21, 2017 over objection of the prosecutor after he was released on Jan. 30, 2017.

The case was launched at Diyarbakır 8th High Criminal Court against Baluken on charges of membership in an armed terror group, disrupting the unity and integrity of the state, disseminating propaganda for a terror organization and taking part in illegal demonstrations. He was facing a jail sentence of up to 47 years.

Turkey has stepped up its crackdown on Kurdish politicians since 2016. 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. Ten HDP deputies including Co-chairpersons Selahattin Demirtaş and Figen Yüksekdağ are still in prison.

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