Kurdish politician Demirtaş receives jail sentence for insulting Erdoğan

A Turkish court on Monday sentenced the former co-chair of the pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP), Selahattin Demirtaş, to three-and-half years in prison for insulting the Turkish president, Turkish broadcaster NTV reported.

The sentence stems from a statement made by the jailed Kurdish politician at Istanbul’s Ataturk Airport in 2015, it said.

Demirtaş said his remarks were aimed at criticising the government and not the president during his court appearance via SEGBIS, a court-to-prison teleconferencing system on Monday, NTV said.

Demirtaş was arrested in Nov. 2016, together with fellow HDO co-chair Figen Yüksekdağ and several HDP deputies.

He is facing up to 142 years in prison for a variety of terrorism charges, including charges of propaganda over his speeches as a member of parliament and incitement to violence over his call for democratic protests for the town of Kobani. 

In December, the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) ordered the immediate release of Demirtaş, finding that his detention goes against “the very core of the concept of a democratic society”.

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