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Turkish Parliament strips HDP deputy Zana of parliamentary status

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The Turkish Parliament on Thursday stripped pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) Ağrı deputy Leyla Zana of her parliamentary status, Diken reported.

Zana’s status was removed due to inadequate attendance at parliamentary sessions.

In March 2017, an indictment drafted by a Diyarbakır prosecutor sought up to a 20-year sentence for HDP Ağrı deputy Zana on terror charges.

Zana was released after a brief detention in Diyarbakır in February 2017.

A renowned Kurdish politician, Zana was imprisoned for 10 years for her political activism, which was deemed by the Turkish courts to be against the unity of the state. When she was a member of the pro-Kurdish Democratic Society Party (DTP), she was prohibited from joining any political party for five years with the Constitutional Court’s decision to ban this party.

She was awarded the 1995 Sakharov Prize by the European Parliament but was unable to collect it until her release in 2004. She has worked extensively to find a peaceful solution to Turkey’s long-standing Kurdish problem.

The third largest party in the Turkish Parliament, the HDP now has 53 seats in the legislature.

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-chairperson Selahattin Demirtaş and former Co-chairperson Figen Yüksekdağ are still in prison.

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