Prosecutors demand 10 years in prison for jailed former HDP co-leader

Prosecutors demand 10 years in prison for jailed former HDP co-leader

MERSİN
Prosecutors demand 10 years in prison for jailed former HDP co-leader

Imprisoned former Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) co-leader Figen Yüksekdağ, currently in prison on terror-related charges, is facing a sentence of 10 years in jail over “terrorist propaganda” and “defaming the Turkish Republic.” 

The Mersin 2nd Heavy Criminal Court continued the case against Yüksekdağ on Sept. 11 in her absence, with prosecutors seeking a sentence of 10 years in prison over a speech she delivered at Nevruz celebrations in the southern province of Mersin in 2016. 

Yüksekdağ was arrested on Nov. 4, 2016, along with nine other HDP lawmakers, and has been in prison since then. 

“There are currently more than 20 cases ongoing in different courts,” her lawyer Gülseren Yoleri told Hürriyet Daily News on Sept. 11.

“There are also eight different investigations by prosecutors filed against her, and we anticipate them being turned into a case,” she added. 

After her first conviction was finalized in February, Yüksekdağ was stripped of her seat in parliament. “And two other convictions are in an appeal process,” her lawyer said. 

As the Ankara 16th Heavy Criminal Court is also continuing a case against, her lawyers demanded a merge of files, but the Mersin Court Board declined the demand on grounds that the “two cases only have her name in common,” adjourning the hearing.

She is facing 30 to 83 years in prison for “inciting to commit a crime” and “inciting the public to hatred and hostility,” in the Ankara case, where the next hearing will be held on Sept. 18.

With Yüksekdağ and Nursel Aydoğan, another lawmaker for the Kurdish issue-focused party, stripped of their seats in parliament, there are currently nine HDP deputies in prison on terror charges, including the party’s co-leader Selahattin Demirtaş.

Two other former lawmakers, Faysal Sarıyıldız and Tuğba Hezer, who were also stripped of their seats in parliament following criminal charges, left Turkey in the wake of a parliamentary decision to remove lawmakers’ immunities in 2016 and have been abroad ever since.