An indictment prepared by a Diyarbakır prosecutor is seeking a jail sentence of up to 142 years for pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) Co-chair Selahattin Demirtaş and up to 83 years for the party’s other co-chair, Figen Yüksekdağ, who were both put behind bars in November 2016.
Demirtaş and Yüksekdağ were arrested along with eight other HDP deputies in November, while another HDP deputy was arrested in December.
In the indictment Demirtaş is accused of being a leader of the terrorist Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) and disseminating its propaganda in speeches made on various occasions, among several other charges. The minimum jail sentence sought for Demirtaş is 43 years.
Yüksekdağ is also accused of being a leader of the PKK and promoting the propaganda of a terrorist organization, in addition to other charges. The minimum jail sentence sought for Yüksekdağ is 30 years.
Turkey has stepped up its crackdown on Kurdish politicians in recent months. In addition to the 11 HDP deputies who are jailed, hundreds of local Kurdish politicians have been arrested on terror charges, while the government has appointed trustees to scores of municipalities run by the democratically elected Kurdish mayors.