The Diyarbakır 8th High Criminal Court has sentenced Pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) deputy İdris Baluken to 16 years and eight months in jail for “membership to a terrorist organization,” “spreading terrorist propaganda” and “opposing the law on meetings and demonstrations.”
Baluken had been arrested along with HDP co-chair Selahattin Demirtaş in November 2016, but was released in January 2017 at the request of a prosecutor.
He was rearrested on Feb. 21, 2017 and has been behind bars in Ankara’s Sincan Prison since then.
Turkey has stepped up its crackdown on Kurdish politicians since 2016. Trustees have been appointed to dozens of municipalities in the country’s predominantly Kurdish Southeast, while hundreds of local Kurdish politicians have been arrested on terror charges. Ten HDP deputies including Co-chairpersons Selahattin Demirtaş and Figen Yüksekdağ are still in prison.