Turkey: Kurdish ex-MP was convicted to 22 years in prison

On Monday, a Turkish court convicted a famous Kurdish former lawmaker, who was in hunger strike for months, to more than 22 years in prison with accusations related to terrorism.

An AFP reporter related that Leyla Guven, a Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) lawmaker who was deprived of her parliamentary immunity in June, was sentenced with charges to membership of a terrorist group and propagating terrorism publicity for banned Kurdish militants.

Guven (56 years-old) started a 200-day hunger strike in 2018 in an attempt to stop detained Kurdish leader Abdullah Ocalan’s isolation by allowing him to meet his family and lawyers.

It should be noted that Ocalan’s Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) that is blacklisted by Ankara and its Western allies as a terror group, has been conducting a rebellion against the Turkish state since 1984. Since his arrest in 1999, he has a life judgment for treason on a prison island in front of Istanbul.

Although his relatively total isolation, Ocalan remains an important personality of the Kurdish rebellion and generally on the region’s movement. Indeed, in May last year, he appealed for a finish to hunger strikes by thousands of imprisoned supporters in Turkey, who were living by drinking just salty and sugary water.

Moreover, Ocalan met his brother Mehmet for the first time in more than two years on January 12 last year; however any meeting details have been given. In May last year, he was permitted to meet his lawyers for the first time in eight years.

When Guven launched her hunger strike, she was detained on separate accusations. Last year, she was liberated under judicial control after one-year in prison to describe the Turkish military operation against a Syrian Kurdish militia as an invasion.

Otherwise, the government accuses the HDP of relations with the PKK, while the party denied that. Guven’s daughter Sabiha Temizkan stated that her mother was sentenced for her links to the pro-Kurdish Democratic Society Congress (DTK), which is a civil society group that has not been forbidden by the Turkish state but it still under control. In tweeter, Temizkan called the Turkish government the enemy of the law.

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