HDP Co-chair Demirtaş Sentenced 21 to Five Months

Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) co-chair Selahattin Demirtaş, who is currently under arrest, was sentenced on Feb. 21 to five months in prison on charges of “insulting the state and its institutions,” while the party’s Diyarbakır Deputy İdris Baluken was arrested for a second time in Ankara.

The Doğubayazıt 2nd criminal court of first instance on Feb. 21 sentenced Demirtaş to five years in prison on charges of “denigrating the Turkish nation, the Turkish Republic and the institutions of the state.”

Police also detained Baluken following an appeal against his release in a case filed as part of a terror investigation on Feb. 21. He was later arrested.

He had previously been released on Jan. 30 after being arrested on Nov. 4, 2016. An arrest warrant was later issued for him.

The court in the southeastern province of Diyarbakır on Feb. 17 had issued an arrest warrant for HDP Diyarbakır deputy Baluken.

The prosecutor’s office previously appealed the court decision on Baluken’s release pending trial on Jan. 30 to a higher court.

After reviewing the appeal, the Diyarbakır 1st court of serious crimes on Feb. 17 issued an arrest warrant for Baluken.

Baluken faces an aggravated life sentence and up to 23 years in prison on four separate charges, namely “disrupting the unity of the state and the country,” “being a member of armed terror organization,” “engaging terror organization propaganda” and “refusing to disperse despite warning in illegal demonstration and marches.”

In the first hearing of the case, the Diyarbakır 8th court of serious crimes ordered his release, nearly three months after his arrest on terror charges on Nov. 4, 2016 along with other party deputies including co-chairs Selahattin Demirtaş and Figen Yüksekdağ who still remain in prison.

At present a total of 12 HDP figures, including Demirtaş and Yüksekdağ, remain in prison and face hundreds of years in jail.

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