HDP MP Leyla Zana acquitted of terror charges
Kurdish issue-focused Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) Ağrı deputy Leyla Zana was acquitted of three separate charges directed at her as a part of a terror investigation on July 11.
The Diyarbakır 5th High Criminal Court ruled for Zana’s acquittal on charges of “being a member of an armed organization,” “praising crime and the guilty,” and “refusing to disperse despite warnings during illegal gatherings and marches,” citing that her activities “were not constant and there was no direct evidence of the guilt.”
Zana was detained on Feb. 8 and then released on the same day on probation. Following the detention, the Diyarbakır Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office opened an investigation into her demanding between eight and 21 years in jail.
At the first hearing of the trial in Diyarbakır, the prosecutor stated that they “found no concrete and convincing evidence which is above suspicion on the imputed offence” and asked for her acquittal. The lawyers present agreed with the prosecutor’s observation and the court ruled her acquittal.
A prominent figure in Kurdish politics in Turkey, Zana had previously served 10 years in prison for “being a member of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK)” after she had taken a part of her parliamentary oath in Kurdish following her election as a lawmaker in 1991.
After serving her sentence, she was released in 2004 and elected again twice in the 2011 and 2015 elections.
Following her release, she was accused of “making terrorist propaganda” and “committing a crime for a terrorist organization despite not being a member of it” in a number of cases. In April 2008, she was sentenced two years in prison and in December 2008 she was sentenced to another 10 years in prison. That sentence was outrun by Supreme Court in 2014.