Turkish Authorities Recommend Lengthy Sentence for HDP’s Leyla Zana

Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) parliamentarian Leyla Zana, the first Kurdish woman to win a seat in the Turkish assembly, should face a 20-year prison sentence for several terrorism-related charges, Turkish media reported the chief public prosecutor in Diyarbakir as saying.

Zana was accused of membership of an armed terrorist group, praising crime and criminal activity, and opposing the law on meetings and demonstrations.

Prosecutor recommended a 20-year prison sentence, while Hurriyet Daily News put the length at 9 to 20 years.

Zana was detained on Feb. 8 for failing to answer a summons linked to a counter-terrorism investigation, but was released on judicial restrictions later that day.

Zana spent 10 years in prison after defying Turkish law in 1991 and reciting part of her oath of parliament in Kurdish. “I take this oath for the brotherhood between the Turkish people and the Kurdish people,” she had said, earning herself a 10-year prison term.

She was released in 2004 and re-elected as an MP in 2011.

At least 26 HDP parliamentarians have been detained since last November, after the Turkish parliament voted to lift immunity from a select group of MPs, including many HDP members accused of having ties with the banned Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK).