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HDP’s Kemalbay released on judicial probation

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Former co-chairperson of the pro-Kurdish Democratic Peoples’ Party (HDP) Serpil Kemalbay, who was detained in Ankara on Feb. 13, has been released on judicial probation by a court in Ankara, Cumhuriyet reported.

According to the report, the court also imposed a travel ban on Kemalbay.

The Ankara Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office had issued a detention warrant for Kemalbay for disseminating the propaganda of a terrorist organization in a speech on Feb. 11 at a party congress in Ankara.

The same prosecutor’s office on Feb. 12 launched an investigation into newly elected HDP Co-chairperson Pervin Buldan and HDP deputy Sırrı Süreyya Önder over remarks on a Turkish military operation in the Afrin region of Syria during a party congress.

According to a statement from the prosecutor’s office, the investigation was initiated for putting posters of outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) leader Abdullah Öcalan in the congress hall; making statements that tried to portray the Turkish military operation in Afrin as being against the Kurdish people; praising the leader of a terrorist organization; disseminating the propaganda of a terrorist organization; and inciting hatred and hostility among the people.

The Ankara prosecutor’s office had on Friday issued detention warrants for Kemalbay and 17 others on the grounds that they had criticized a Turkish military incursion in northern Syria.

The Turkish military and Free Syrian Army (FSA) fighters on Jan. 20 launched Operation Olive Branch in Afrin against the Syrian Kurdish Democratic Union Party (PYD), which Turkey sees as the Syrian extension of the outlawed PKK.

The Turkish government and President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan have reacted strongly to people who oppose the operation, and prosecutor’s offices have initiated investigations into people who share social media messages critical of the operation.

Earlier last week Turkish police teams detained 31 HDP and Peoples’ Democratic Congress (HDK) officials in raids on their homes in İstanbul.

Former HDP Co-chairpersons Selahattin Demirtaş and Figen Yüksekdağ as well as several other deputies and dozens of party members are currently in jail on terror charges.

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