3 HDP branch chairmen in İstanbul detained for supporting deputy on hunger strike

A girl flashes the victory sign as holding a flag bearing the logo of Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP) as Turkish Kurds gather during Newroz celebrations for the new year in Diyarbakir, southeastern Turkey, on March 21, 2018. Newroz (also known as Nawroz or Nowruz) is an ancient Persian festival, which is also celebrated by Kurdish people, marking the first day of spring, which falls on March 21. / AFP PHOTO / ILYAS AKENGIN

The chairmen of three pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) branches in Istanbul have been detained for displaying support for jailed HDP deputy Leyla Güven, who has been on a hunger strike for more than two months.

The Artı Gerçek news website reported the detention of the local politicians in the Zeytinburnu, Üsküdar and Çekmeköy districts of İstanbul. One of them was detained for stickers on his car supporting the jailed deputy, while another was taken into custody for hanging a banner featuring Güven on the local party building.

Güven was arrested on Jan. 31, 2018 and faces a prison sentence of between 17.5 and 31.5 years on charges of establishing and leading a terrorist organization, disseminating the propaganda of a terrorist organization and provoking the public to take part in illegal demonstrations.

Güven is currently on a hunger strike demanding the removal of a prohibition on outside visits to Abdullah Öcalan, leader of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK).

Following Güven’s election to parliament in the general election of June 24, her lawyers petitioned the court, asking for Güven’s release on the grounds that she won parliamentary immunity, but court has so far refused to release her.

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