World Bulletin / News Desk
A court in southeastern Diyarbakir province sentenced a lawmaker from opposition Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) to 16 years and eight months in prison on Thursday after convicting him on various terror-related charges, according to a judicial source.
HDP Diyarbakir Deputy Idris Baluken was convicted of “being member of armed terror group”, “spreading terrorist propaganda” and “taking part in unauthorized meetings and marches”, the source, who spoke on condition of anonymity due to restrictions on talking to the media, said.
Baluken has been in jail pending trial in capital Ankara since Feb. 21, 2017.
Turkish lawmakers have long enjoyed legal immunity, but that was reconsidered after five HDP deputies made an alleged "declaration of autonomy" during a meeting of a terrorist group affiliated with the party in southeastern Turkey.
After the parliament lifted the HDP deputies’ legal immunity in March 2017, the Diyarbakir chief public prosecutor launched an investigation against them.
In November 2016, 13 HDP lawmakers were arrested; 10 of whom, including HDP co-leaders Selahattin Demirtas and Figen Yuksekdag remain in custody awaiting trial on terrorism-related charges.
The lawmakers face prosecution under anti-terrorism legislation after their parliamentary immunity was lifted.
The government has accused the HDP of having links to the PKK, which is listed as a terrorist organization by Turkey, the U.S., and the EU.
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