HDP deputy sentenced to two-and-a-half years for terrorist propaganda

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A woman holda a picture of Selahattin Demirtas, the detained leader of Turkey's Pro-Kurdish Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP), during a rally in Diyarbakir on September 17, 2017. (AFP PHOTO / ILYAS AKENGIN)

The Gaziantep 2nd High Criminal Court on Tuesday sentenced Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) deputy Mahmut Toğrul to two years, six months’ imprisonment for disseminating terrorist propaganda, the Diken news website reported.

A criminal case against Toğrul was opened in 2016 following political speeches he gave addressing HDP supporters in Gaziantep and Kahramanmaraş provinces.

According to HDP Co-chair Sezai Temelli some 6,000 HDP members, including former co-chairs Selahattin Demirtaş and Figen Yüksekdağ, are behind bars and more than 12,000 members were detained as part of a massive crackdown on Kurdish politicians.

Ninety-six mayors from the Kurdish Democratic Regions Party (DBP) were dismissed by the government, Temelli added at a press conference in Ankara on Sunday marking the second year of the detentions of Demirtaş and Yüksekdağ.

A Turkish court has repeatedly refused to release HDP deputy Leyla Güven although she was elected as a member of parliament in the June 24 general election and gained immunity from prosecution.

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