Turkish court sentences pro-Kurdish ex-mayor to nine years in jail

A Turkish court sentenced on Monday the former mayor of the southeastern province of Diyarbakır, Selçuk Mızraklı, to nine years and four months in jail over membership in a terrorist organisation, Diken news site reported. 

Mızraklı was removed from office on Aug. 19 alongside two other pro-Kurdish Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP) mayors over links to the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), an armed group that has been at war for Kurdish self rule in Turkey for over three decades.

The PKK is designated as a terrorist organisation by Turkey, the United States and the European Union.

The HDP mayor was arrested on Oct. 22 with prosecutors demanding a prison sentence of up to 15 years.

Turkish authorities have replaced dozens of HDP mayors over links to the PKK since the March 31 local elections last year. 

Turkey’s Justice and Development Party (AKP) government has long accused the pro-Kurdish HDP of harbouring sympathies and acting in the interest of the outlawed group.