ANKARA — Indictments regarding the jailed co-leaders of the Pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) have been completed, with the prosecutor seeking up to 142 years in jail for Selahattin Demirtas and up to 83 years in jail for Figen Yuksekdag.
Among the charges directed to Demirtas are “managing a terrorist organization,” “making terrorist propaganda,” “inciting people to violence and hatred,” and “praising crime and the criminal,” for which the prosecutor demands a prison sentence of between 43 years and 142 years.
Yüksekdag is charged with “opposing the meeting and rally law,” “inciting people to violence and hatred” and “provoking people to commit crimes,” for which the prosecutor demands a prison sentence of between 30 years and 83 years.
The co-leaders of the HDP and other party lawmakers were detained in early November 2016, in part of what the Turkish government described as counter-terrorism investigations.
Demirtas and Yuksekdag reportedly initially had been detained for failing to respond to a summons for testimony in a probe by the Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office of Diyarbakir.
Parliamentary immunity for parliamentarians was lifted in Turkey in May 2016 after a constitutional amendment was approved by parliament, allowing the Turkish state to investigate MPs for criminal or terrorist connections and prosecute accordingly.
In recent months, thousands of Kurdish politicians have been detained, including dozens of local mayors in the southeast.
The arrest of elected members of the pro-Kurdish opposition, and the detention or suspension of more than 100,000 officials since a failed coup in July, may “go beyond what is permissible”, the United Nations’ human rights office has said.
The United States has expressed deep concern at the arrest of the two, while Germany and Denmark have summoned Turkish diplomats.