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Former HDP deputy flees Turkey to escape persecution

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Former Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) deputy Leyla Birlik, on who a travel ban was imposed by a Turkish court, has fled to Greece and applied for asylum there, according to the Hürriyet daily.

She was taken into police custody in Alexandropolis and later released while her application is under review, according to Greek media.

Birlik was detained by Turkish police on Nov. 4, 2016 along with 13 other HDP deputies on accusations of disseminating “terrorist” propaganda as part of a large-scale investigation into the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK).

She was released pending trial on Jan. 4, 2017 with a travel ban imposed by the Şırnak 1st High Criminal Court, which later convicted her. She is currently free on bail pending appeal.

According to the Hürriyet report, there were no outstanding detention warrants for her, although two criminal cases had been opened against her.

The Supreme Court of Appeals had previously overturned a ruling by the Ankara 2nd High Criminal Court that convicted her of membership in a terrorist organization and spreading terrorist propaganda.

Birlik entered parliament in the general election of June 7, 2015 and was re-elected in the repeated parliamentary election on Nov. 1, 2015.

She was not among the parliamentary nominees of the HDP for the elections on June 24 due to her conviction.

Turkish courts refused to release Republican People’s Party (CHP) deputy Enis Berberoğlu and HDP deputy Leyla Güven despite their re-election on June 24.

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