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HDP MP stripped of seat, sentenced to prison

  2021-03-17  | 
 Zhyan News Network
Lawmaker of People's Democratic Party (HDP), Omer Faruk Gergerlioglu speaks during a news conference.
 Zhyan News Network

SULAIMANI – The Turkish parliament on Wednesday (March 17) approved stripping immunity of a lawmaker for pro-Kurdish People’s Democratic Party (HDP), opening the way for his arrest over propaganda for the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK).

“The people’s will cannot be trampled under foot. Wanting peace is not a crime,” Omer Gergerlioglu, HDP lawmaker and a human rights activist, said on Twitter.

Gergerlioglu has been accused of making propaganda for the PKK in an August 20, 2016 post on his twitter account.

Turkey's Supreme Court of Appeals on February 16, sentenced Gergerlioglu to two years and 6 months in prison, opening the way to him being stripped from his status as a member of Turkey's parliament.

On March 17, the Human Rights Watch said stripping Gergerlioglu of his immunity “would compound the serious violation of his right to freedom of expression and violate the voters’ right to choose their representatives.”

After the loss of Gergerlioglu's seat, the HDP now holds 55 seats in parliament.

Gergerlioglu had shared a PKK statement on his twitter account that said “peace would come if the government takes one step forward,” referring to the decades-long conflict between Ankara and the PKK.

Since February 15 Turkish security forces have arrested over 700 people over alleged links to the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), including the HDP’s provincial and district chairs, raising fears of a new, and possibly final, crackdown on the party.

(Zhyan English)