Prosecutor seeks five-year jail sentences for HDP's Demirtaş, Önder
Prosecutors have demanded five-year jail sentences for former Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) co-chair Selahattin Demirtaş and HDP Ankara deputy Sırrı Süreyya Önder on charges of “making terrorist propaganda.”
At the first hearing in the case at Istanbul’s 26th Heavy Criminal Court on April 30, the prosecutor demanded five years in prison for Demirtaş and Önder over a speech they delivered at a Nevruz spring celebration event in 2013, accusing them of “making propaganda for the [outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party] PKK.”
Demirtaş has been held in Edirne Prison since November 2016 and is being tried in a series of other cases, facing decades in jail on charges including “leading a terrorist organization.”
The former HDP co-chair did not attend the hearing, with his lawyer citing health reasons. Önder was present.
The prosecutor stated that the two lawmakers attended the Nevruz celebrations in Istanbul on March 17, 2013 at which “illegal slogans were chanted for the PKK.”
The case has been adjourned to June 8.
As lawmakers, both Demirtaş and Önder had enjoyed legislative immunity, but a constitutional amendment passed in parliament in 2016 paved the way for prosecutors to open investigations into them for existing files opened before that date.
After immunities were lifted, hundreds of summaries of proceedings were issued against HDP MPs, leading to eight of them - including former co-leaders Demirtaş and Figen Yüksekdağ - being jailed and 11 of them being stripped of their deputy statuses.