May 24 2018

Turkish court upholds sentence on former pro-Kurd party spokesman

A Turkish regional court upheld a local court’s decision to sentence the former spokesman of the pro-Kurdish opposition Peoples’ Democratic Party’s (HDP) to more than 16 years in prison on terrorism charges, Turkish news website T24 said on Wednesday.

İdris Baluken has been in detention since his arrest on Nov. 4, 2016 and was found guilty of belonging to an armed terrorist group, making propaganda for an armed terrorist group, and acting contrary to the law on demonstrations and marches by a local court on Jan. 4, 2018.

The regional court’s decision came one day after the HDP nominated Baluken to stand in June 24 elections for the parliamentary seat of Batman, in the mainly Kurdish southeast. The party, whose jailed former leader is standing as a candidate in presidential polls the same day, is now expected to nominate someone else to stand instead of Baluken. 

Ten HDP members of parliament have lost their seats due to similar terrorism convictions. The party came third in the last parliamentary elections in 2015.