Turkey's pro-Kurdish HDP MP given 18-year sentence

A parliamentarian for Turkey's pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) has been sentenced to a total of 18 years and 8 months for “harming the unity of the state and nation”, “carrying out propaganda for a (terrorist) organisation”, “provoking others to commit crime” and “being a member of a (terrorist) organisation” on Friday, left-wing newspaper Evrensel said.

Lezgin Botan and Adem Geveri, who represent Van in the Turkish parliament, both pleaded not guilty to a bevy of charges against them, but while Geveri was found innocent, Botan was convicted.

The court nonetheless decided to release Botan under a judicial control decision and a ban on leaving the country pending his appeal, which Botan’s lawyer pledged to lodge immediately.

The charges were initially filed against the pair and fellow Van HDP parliamentarian Bedia Özgökçe Ertan on Mar. 8 in relation to their social media posts opposing the Turkish military operation in Afrin.