Pro-Kurdish politician Tosun sentenced to jail by Turkish court

HDP parliamentarian sentenced to 10 years in jail but will remain free pending appeals process.

File: Pro-Kurdish HDP lawmaker Remziye Tosun scuffles with riot police during a demonstration in Diyarbakir
Tosun was accused of treating wounded members of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party during clashes in 2016 [File: Sertac Kayar/Reuters]

A Turkish court has sentenced a parliamentarian from the pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) to 10 years in jail for membership of a “terrorist organisation”.

Remziye Tosun, a member of parliament representing the province of Diyarbakir in majority-Kurdish southeast Turkey, will remain free pending the appeals process, according to court documents released on Friday.

Tosun was accused of treating wounded members of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) during clashes in Diyarbakir’s Sur district in 2016, her lawyer told Reuters news agency.

“There is no evidence that supports the verdict. It is based on statements that were taken by force from individuals who were there during that period,” said lawyer Muharrem Sahin, adding that Tosun lived in the area and did not have the expertise to treat people.

If the upper court upholds Tosun’s conviction, her case will go to parliament, which will then vote on whether to lift her immunity.

Ankara accuses the HDP of ties to the PKK, which has fought against the Turkish state in the southeast since 1984 and is deemed a terrorist group by Turkey, the United States, and the European Union.

The HDP, which is the third-largest party in Turkey’s parliament with 56 deputies, denies such links.

A ceasefire between Ankara and the PKK ended in 2015, leading to some of the most violent clashes in years, including in the Sur district.

The opposition has accused Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his ruling Justice and Development Party of seeking to quash dissent by jailing opposition members and critics since a 2016 failed coup.

The government has said its actions are justified by threats which Turkey faces.

In June, two politicians from the HDP and one from the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) were jailed after parliament stripped them of their status as deputies due to their conviction.

Eleven HDP deputies had their status removed before a parliamentary election in 2018.

Source: News Agencies