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Turkey’s top court rules Kurdish politician to stay in jail

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Turkey’s Constitutional Court has decided to keep a Kurdish politician with dementia in jail, Agence France-Presse reported on Friday, citing the court’s ruling.

Aysel Tuğluk, now 57, was the deputy co-chair of the pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) before her arrest in 2016.

She was sentenced in 2018 to 10 years in prison for “belonging to a terrorist organization.”

The country’s top court rejected a plea for her release, but ordered that she receive regular neurological and psychiatric treatment in hospital.

“The evolution of her illness must be followed and the need for a release evaluated at regular intervals,” the court ruled.

Tuğluk’s lawyer Serdar Çelebi recently told AFP that merely providing medication was not enough, and her illness was only worsening in detention.

Tuğluk was first diagnosed with dementia at Seka State Hospital in the northwestern province of Kocaeli in 2021.

Her supporters believe she developed dementia after witnessing Turkish nationalists attack her mother’s funeral in Ankara in 2017. She had been authorized to attend.

Tuğluk was arrested for her activities with the Democratic Society Congress (DTK), an organization that Turkish authorities consider to be linked to the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), listed as a terrorist organization by Turkey and much of the international community.

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