Turkish court orders re-arrest of opposition leaders

Turkish court orders re-arrest of opposition leaders

ANKARA- Anadolu Agency
Turkish court orders re-arrest of opposition leaders

A court in Turkey’s capital on Sept. 20 ordered the re-arrest of the former co-chairs of the opposition Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP), according to judicial sources.

The move came after the Chief Prosecutor’s Office in Ankara launched a fresh investigation into Selahattin Demirtaş and Figen Yüksekdağ, who have been in jail since November 2016 after they were arrested along with several other HDP lawmakers on terror-related charges.

Demirtaş and Yüksekdağ face charges for several offenses including violating the unity and integrity of the state and inciting people to murder and loot.

The charges refer to protests in 2014 which claimed the lives of 53 people, including two police officers, left hundreds of people injured and caused extensive damage to property.

The protests erupted across Turkey during the Eid al-Adha holiday on Oct. 6 that year, a day after ISIL militants entered the Syrian border town of Kobani, also known as Ayn Al-Arab.

On Sept. 2, an Ankara court decided to release Demirtaş while he awaited trial.

In September 2018, Demirtaş was sentenced to four years and eight months in prison after he was convicted of spreading terrorist propaganda, leading a terrorist organization and public incitement to hatred and hostility.

Turkey's government accuses the HDP of having links to the PKK terrorist organization.

In its more than 30-year terror campaign against Turkey, the PKK -- listed as a terrorist organization by Turkey, the U.S. and the European Union -- has been responsible for the deaths of some 40,000 people, including women, children and infants.