[UPDATE] Court releases pro-Kurdish HDP deputy Osman Baydemir after testimony

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Pro-Kurdish Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP) spokesperson Osman Baydemir / AFP PHOTO / OZAN KOSE

Pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) deputy Osman Baydemir, who was detained by police on Saturday evening, was released by an İzmir court on Sunday after testifying via video conferencing to a court in Şırnak.

According to the Cumhuriyet daily, Baydemir was detained in İzmir, where he was to participate in a party event. The police detained him on an outstanding warrant.

Baydemir was held in police custody at a government guesthouse in İzmir, waiting to appear at the Şırnak hearing from there, Cumhuriyet reported.

A case has been filed against Baydemir for violating a regulation on organizing political meetings and participation in a political event in the Cizre district of Şırnak province on Dec. 27, 2015.

Baydemir attended a protest at that time to condemn Turkish soldiers for the mistreatment of bodies of slain members of a group that is pro-Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK).

Another Turkish court issued a detention warrant for Baydemir in early November 2017 after he failed to attend a hearing in Şanlıurfa province where he was charged with disseminating terrorist propaganda stemming from a Newroz celebration.

Turkey has stepped up its crackdown on Kurdish politicians in recent years. Trustees have been appointed to dozens of municipalities in the country’s predominantly Kurdish Southeast, while hundreds of local Kurdish politicians as well as 11 HDP deputies including the party’s co-chairs have been arrested on terror charges.

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