Former co-chair of the pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) Figen Yüksekdağ has been handed down a prison sentence of 1 year and 6 months for insulting President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
A Diyarbakir court convicted Yüksekdağ for a statement she made while under custody for another, anti-terrorism investigation. When referring to Erdogan, Yuksekdag said: “…Erdogan whose background is filled only with controversies,” the very statement that was followed by an insult case, initiated by Erdogan’s lawyers.
Yüksekdağ, who has been in prison since November 2016, refused to participate in the court hearing by a video system.
She was arrested in a police operation on Nov. 4, 2016 along with eight HDP deputies including the other HDP co-chair, Selahattin Demirtaş.
In April, 2017, the İstanbul 22nd High Criminal Court also handed down a prison sentence of one year to Yüksekdağ for “disseminating the propaganda of a terrorist organization.”
The parliamentary status of Yüksekdağ was removed in February after the Supreme Court of Appeals upheld a jail sentence in September 2016 handed down to her in 2013.
Yüksekdağ was sentenced to 10 months for participating in the funeral ceremony of Yasemin Çiftçi, a member of the Marxist-Leninist Communist Party (MLKP) –- a terrorist group affiliated with the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK).
Turkey has stepped up its crackdown on Kurdish politicians in recent months. Trustees have been appointed to dozens of municipalities in the country’s predominantly Kurdish Southeast, while hundreds of local Kurdish politicians as well as 11 HDP deputies including the party’s co-chairs were remanded behind bars on terror charges.