Turkey seeks prison sentence for another Kurdish lawmaker

A Turkish prosecutor has sought up to three years prison sentence for pro-Kurdish party deputy over charges of violating laws on meetings and demonstrations, Turkish news website Gazete Karınca reported on Friday.

Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP) Şanlıurfa deputy Ayşe Sürücü faces a prison sentence between one-and-a-half and three years for attending a ceremony in 2016 in the southeastern town of Halfeti.

Sürücü was not present at court on Friday but was represented by her lawyers, who denied all charges. One of the lawyers resigned from the case citing lack of fair trial, after the court rejected the defence’s demands. The trial was postponed to a future date after Sürücü’s other lawyers asked for additional time to prepare their defence.

Since a failed coup attempt in 2016, many high-profile members of the HDP have been imprisoned, including former co-chairs Selahattin Demirtaş and Figen Yüksekdağ, over terrorism-related offences after their parliamentary immunity was lifted in May 2016.

Turkish government officials repeatedly blame the HDP, the third largest party in parliament, for what they say the party’s links to the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK), which is designated as a terrorist organisation by Turkey.