March 24, 2018 - 12:45 AMT
Kurdish lawmaker handed 18-year jail term in Turkey

Another pro-Kurdish lawmaker in Turkey has been slapped with a lengthy sentence for terror-related charges, Rudaw reports.

Lezgin Botan, member of parliament for the Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP), was sentenced to 18 years, eight months, and 15 days by Van High Criminal Court on Friday, March 23 for “being a member of terror organization,” “dissolving unity and territorial integrity of the state,” “resisting doing his duty,” “insulting,” “inciting criminal activity,” and “resisting an on-duty employee,” according to Birgun news agency.

HDP spokesperson Ayhan Bilgen confirmed the news to Rudaw English.

Botan represents the Kurdish city of Van and is a member of the culture, youth and sport committee in the Turkish parliament.

He was tried along with another HDP MP from Van, Adam Geveri, who was acquitted, according to Cumhurriyet news agency.

Neither of the accused attended the trial, but their lawyers rejected charges and Botan’s lawyer urged acquittal for his client. He plans to appeal the verdict.

Another court upheld a sentence against HDP deputy Osman Baydemir.

Baydemir was accused of insulting the police when he was governor of Diyarbakir in 2012. A court in the city sentenced him to one year, five months and 15 days. He challenged the ruling, which was upheld by a second court in Gaziantep on Friday, according to state-run Anadolu Agency.

Baydemir drew patriotic attention late last year when he declared to the parliament that Kurdistan exists in his heart, earning himself a suspension from the legislature.

Nine HDP lawmakers have already been stripped of their parliamentary positions because of terror-related convictions stemming from allegations of ties with the banned PKK.