Tuesday, November 30, 2021
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pro-Kurdish politician released from prison

ANKARA, Turkey (AP) – A prominent Turkish opposition lawmaker was released from prison on Tuesday, days after the country’s highest court ruled that his rights to liberty and to participate in politics had been violated, the country’s official news agency reported.

The Anadolu agency said that Omer Faruk Gergerlioglu, a member of the pro-Kurdish People’s Democratic Party, or HDP, had been released from his prison on the outskirts of Ankara. He was stripped of his parliamentary seat three months ago and jailed for allegedly participating in terrorist propaganda.

Gergerlioglu, who denied any wrongdoing, was also due to return to parliament to resume his political activities.

The politician was convicted in 2018 and sentenced to two years and six months in prison after retweeting a 2016 press article about a call for peace by the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party, or PKK . The court ruled that the tweets were propaganda on behalf of the PKK.

An appeals court upheld the conviction earlier this year. But the Constitutional Court ruled in favor of Gergerlioglu last week.

The former head of an Islamist human rights association, Gergerlioglu has denounced several rights violations in Turkey, including alleged illegal strip searches of detainees by police.

The PKK is considered a terrorist organization in Turkey, Europe and the United States. He has been waging an armed insurgency against the Turkish state since 1984 and the conflict has left tens of thousands dead. A fragile ceasefire and peace talks collapsed in the summer of 2015.

High Court prosecutors have meanwhile filed an indictment with the Constitutional Court calling for the shutdown of the HDP as well as a five-year ban from political office for hundreds of party members. The shutdown case is the latest crackdown on the party, which has seen its former leaders, lawmakers and thousands of activists arrested.

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