Turkish court issues second arrest warrant in a week for jailed former HDP leader
(This story was updated to correct typo in headline)
A Turkish court sentenced on Friday the jailed former co-chair of the pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP), to prison for her relation to a wave of violence sparked in 2014 by demonstrations in Turkey’s predominantly Kurdish southeast, Rudaw reported.
She was sentenced to prison for the second time a week after another arrest warrant for her was issued by a public prosecutor.
Ankara’s 16th Heavy Penalty Court tried Figen Yuksekdag on charges including leading a “terror organisation” and anti-government protests, and “inciting hatred and animosity,” Rudaw said.
The former HDP co-chair has been held since November 2016, when she and her fellow co-chair, Selahattin Demirtaş, were arrested on similar charges.
Turkish prosecutors on Sept. 20 issued arrest warrants for Demirtaş and Yüksekdağ in relation to a wave of violence sparked in 2014 by demonstrations in Turkey’s predominantly Kurdish southeast against Turkey’s lack of action to protect the Syrian border city of Kobane from the Islamic State (ISIS).
"The verdict followed the adoption of a resolution on September 18 by the European Parliament which 'condemns the continued arrest' of Demirtas and calls on Turkish authorities to allow his 'immediate and unconditional release'," Rudaw said.
The breakdown of the Justice and Development Party (AKP) government’s peace talks with the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) in 2015 left the HDP exposed to prosecution due to some members’ links to the Kurdish insurgent movement.
A legal amendment allowing courts to lift parliamentary immunity passed in 2016, and the state of emergency implemented in the aftermath of a failed coup attempt in July that year further enhanced the AKP government’s power to target the party.
Yüksekdağ is one of 10 HDP lawmakers currently imprisoned in Turkey. Yüksekdağ’s application for release was rejected by the court in Ankara, which said it had been given no justification warranting her release.