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Turkish court sentences BDP leader to suspended jail term

ISTANBUL - Daily News with wires | 9/28/2010 12:00:00 AM |

A court has sentenced the co-chairman of Turkey's main pro-Kurdish party to a suspended sentence of 10 months in prison for promoting a terrorist group.

A Turkish court has sentenced the co-chairman of the country’s main pro-Kurdish political party to a suspended sentence of 10 months in prison for promoting a terrorist organization, the Doğan news agency reported Tuesday.

Selahattin Demirtaş, the co-leader of the pro-Kurdish Peace and Democracy Party, or BDP, was charged with spreading propaganda for the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party, or PKK, in a speech he made on Roj TV in 2006.

Demirtaş, then the leader of the Diyarbakır branch of the Human Rights Association, had said that imprisoned PKK leader Abdullah Öcalan’s “role should be considered in solving the Kurdish issue.”

Charges were brought against Demirtaş in a Diyarbakır court in 2006 for his remarks. He was elected as a parliamentary deputy in July 2007, but was not granted full immunity because the Supreme Court of Appeals overturned a lower court’s decision and declared his case should continue because it was related to terrorism, according to daily Hürriyet.

The 10-month sentence has been suspended for five years and will not have to be served if Demirtaş does not repeat the same crime during that period. If he does repeat the crime, he will serve out the sentences handed down in this case and future one.

The PKK is listed as a terrorist organization by Turkey, the United States and the European Union. Roj TV is a Denmark-based, pro-Kurdish TV channel that has been accused of being a mouthpiece of the PKK.

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