A court in the southeastern province of Diyarbakır ordered the release of Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) Kars deputy Ayhan Bilgen on Sept. 8, eight months after he was arrested as a part of a terror investigation.
Lawyers had previously applied to the Diyarbakır 5th High Criminal Court, demanding Bilgen’s release to be tried without arrest as he had faced up to 23 years in prison over three different charges.
The court ruled for Bilgen’s release after reviewing the application during the monthly review of his arrest on Sept. 8.
The indictment seeks jail terms ranging from 8.5 years to 23 years for Bilgen on charges of “being a member of armed terror organization,” “objection to the law on meetings and demonstrations,” and “inciting to commit crime.”
As the party’s former spokesperson and the head of its parliamentary group, Bilgen was detained early on Jan. 29 in the Esenboğa Airport in Ankara and taken to Diyarbakır.
He was referred to court, with the prosecutor demanding his arrest for “being a member of an armed terrorist organization,” but was released on condition of judicial control that included an overseas travel ban.
Bilgen, however, was detained in Diyarbakır again on Jan. 30 before being formally arrested and transferred to Istanbul’s Silivri prison on Jan. 31.
There are currently nine pro-Kurdish HDP lawmakers in prison over ‘terror’ charges, while four elected HDP members, including former co-chair Figen Yüksekdağ, have been stripped of their seats in parliament.
The party’s co-chair, Selahattin Demirtaş, has been in jail in the northwestern province of Edirne since Nov. 4, 2016.