Turkey HDP: Court jails pro-Kurdish leader Demirtas

A leading Kurdish politician has been jailed for making and "spreading terrorist propaganda" for militants fighting the Turkish state. Selahattin Demirtas, a former co-chair of the pro-Kurdish Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP), will serve four years and eight months in jail, state media say.

He came third in June's presidential election while behind bars, where he has been since his arrest in 2016. He denied all charges and human rights groups say the trial was political. A Turkish court also sentenced former HDP lawmaker Sirri Sureyya Onder to three years and six months on the same charge, CNN Turk reports. The former presidential candidate is charged, along with other MPs, of links to the outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK). ◾Who are the Kurds? ◾Turkey targets Kurds: The 100, 300 and 700-word story ◾Reality Check: The numbers behind the crackdown in Turkey Prosecutors accused the two former HDP MPs of praising the banned PKK and its imprisoned leader Abdullah Ocalan in speeches made at a Kurdish Newroz celebration in 2013. Demirtas said in his defence on that he had made the speech during "the days when the most important steps were being taken regarding the Kurdish peace process" and added: "We made an effort for peace." After the court's ruling, he remained defiant in a message shared by his party on Twitter: "We will not take a step back, we will continue to defend peace." Onder, meanwhile, denied having uttered the remarks attributed to him in the indictment.

Demirtas faces dozens of charges for which he risks up to 142 years in jail if found guilty. for more info visit https://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-45450622

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