Diyarbakır court sentences Turkey’s youngest mayor to over four years in jail
DİYARBAKIR – Doğan News Agency
The 25-year-old student became Turkey’s youngest ever mayor after winning the March 30 elections with fellow co-mayoral candidate Harun Erkuş with a record 91 percent of the votes. DHA PhotoRezan Zuğurli, who was elected as co-mayor of Diyarbakır’s Lice district from the Peace and Democracy Party (BDP) a month ago, was sentenced to over four years in prison May 7 for participating in three rallies in 2010 and 2011.
The 25-year-old student became Turkey’s youngest ever mayor after winning the March 30 elections with fellow co-mayoral candidate Harun Erkuş with a record 91 percent of the votes.
The Diyarbakır 2nd High Criminal Court found Zuğurli guilty on charges of committing crimes “on behalf of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK)” even while admitting that she was not a member of the group.
Prosecutors were demanding up to 35 years in prison, although the court ultimately sentenced her to four years and two months in jail.
A previous ruling sentencing Zuğurli to five years in prison on charges of “membership in a terrorist organization” was overturned by the Turkish Supreme Court of Appeals, prompting her release after 13 months of detention.
Zuğurli, who is currently studying at the Communications Faculty of Dicle University in Diyarbakır, had also worked in a women’s shelter in the southeastern province.
During her campaign, Zuğurli had told constituents that despite being new to formal politics, she had lived within politics due to the judicial imbroglio in which she was involved.
“Being a candidate was not something that I planned for but after giving it thought, I felt like I could achieve things,” she said, adding that her family supported her in her decision.
“Sometimes the biggest politics is telling about what you have seen and been through. I may be new in politics, but am not raw at all,” Zuğurli said.