Turkey

Turkey: Arrested HDP lawmaker released after testimony

Opposition Peoples’ Democratic Party Sirnak MP Leyla Birlik earlier detained on charges of being member of a terrorist group

Didar Yüsra Dilruba Öz   | 04.01.2017
Turkey: Arrested HDP lawmaker released after testimony HDP Sirnak Deputy Leyla Birlik

Istanbul

By Aziz Aslan and Ekrem Payan

SIRNAK, Turkey

A lawmaker for Turkey's opposition Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) arrested earlier in the southeastern province of Sirnak was released Wednesday, according to judicial sources.

HDP Sirnak Deputy Leyla Birlik, accused of being a member of a terrorist group and spreading terror propaganda, was released after giving testimony to the Sirnak chief public prosecutor, said the sources, speaking on condition of anonymity due to restrictions on talking to the media.

Birlik was arrested and then remanded in custody on Nov. 4.

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 parliament lifted the HDP deputies’ legal immunity last March, the Diyarbakir chief public prosecutor opened an investigation into them.

Last November, 13 HDP lawmakers were arrested, and 10 of them, 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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