Pro-Kurdish HDP lawmakers Bestas, Aydogan released from Turkish prison

Meral Bestas of HDP

ISTANBUL – Two jailed lawmakers from pro-Kurdish People’s Democratic Party (HDP) were released by the courts in the southeastern province of Diyarbakır on April 21.

HDP Diyarbakır deputy Nursel Aydoğan and Meral Danış Beştaş, another lawmaker from the southern province of Adana, are being tried over “terror” charges.

The Diyarbakır Fourth Heavy Penal Court ruled for the release of Aydoğan on condition of judicial control.

The prosecutor is seeking up to 103 years in prison for Aydoğan, who was arrested on Nov. 4, 2016.

The court subsequently accepted her request for pre-verdict release.

Another lawmaker released hours after Aydoğan was Beştaş, who also participated in the hearing in Diyarbakır Eighth Heavy Penal Court through SEGBİS.

The prosecutor seeks up to 23 years of prison sentence for Beştaş over several charges, including “being a member of an armed terrorist organization” and “inciting people to commit crimes.”

In the hearing, Beştaş, who was arrested on Jan. 30, denied all charges against her and said that some 33 days out of the 81 she spent in Silivri Prison were under isolation.

“It’s unlawful for me to sit in the suspect’s chair as a lawmaker. It’s a political operation to arrest our party’s members. These events constitute a situation that may create serious problems in the international law in the following periods. We are even 800 years behind Magna Carta law. Turkey doesn’t deserve this,” Beştaş told the court, as she also demanded her release.

The court accepted her release demand on condition of judicial control and a ban on traveling abroad.
Some 12 lawmakers from the HDP, including its co-chairs Selahattin Demirtaş and Figen Yüksekdağ, face hundreds of years in jail for their opposition to Turkish dictator Tayyip Erdogan.