Ankara Prosecutor’s Office seeks to strip Armenian lawmaker of immunity

The Ankara Chief Prosecutor’s office has prepared a summary of proceedings against eight deputies of the pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP), inlcuding ethnic Armenia Garo Paylan on the grounds of “insulting the Turkish nation, the Turkish state, its army and police forces,” “acting against the law on political parties,” “making terror propaganda,” and “insulting the president,” the Hurriyet Daily News reported.

The summary of proceedings said HDP deputies Osman Baydemir, Alican Önlü, Feleknas Uca, Sibel Yiğitalp, Nadir Yıldırım, Dilek Öcalan, Mizgin Irgat, and Garo Paylan had “praised” the imprisoned leader of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), Abdullah Öcalan, in their speeches and publicly expressed condolences to the killed PKK militants, state-run Anadolu Agency reported on April 10.

The summary of proceedings, asking for the removal of the parliamentary immunities of the eight deputies, have been sent to the Justice Ministry, the agency said.

In May 2016, the Turkish Parliament approved a law stripping its members of immunity from prosecution, which allowed prosecutors to pursue members of parliament who face investigation.

According to the HDP’s website, nine MPs in the party, including former co-chairs Selahattin Demirtaş and Figen Yüksekdağ, are currently behind bars, alongside many former deputies and mayors.

Meanwhile, HDP lawmaker Burcu Çelik Özkan has been sentenced by an appeals court to seven years, three months and 10 days in jail on charges of “threatening public officials,” “making terror propaganda,” and “committing a crime for an armed terrorist organization,” stiffening her previous sentence of six years in jail.

The appeals court in the eastern province of Erzurum on April 9 rescinded the sentence decided on Oct. 6, 2017 by the local court in the eastern province of Muş, where Özkan was elected as a deputy, on charges of “helping an armed terrorist organization despite not being a member.”

She was also convicted by the Erzurum court for “threatening village guards,” who are deemed public officials, and given five years in prison. The verdict also included a sentence of one year and 10 days in jail for “committing a crime for a terrorist organization despite not being a member” and another sentence of one year and three months in jail for “making terror propaganda.”

Özkan was arrested on April 19, 2017 over a speech she gave in Muş: “You will leave this land. We know very well how to direct those Kalashnikovs you point at us,” she said in the speech on June 8, 2015.

In the indictment, she was also accused of attending the funeral ceremonies of two members of the PKK and giving speeches in favor of the organization.

Show More
Back to top button