Turkish court sentences Kurdish politician Leyla Zana to 10 years in prison


Leyla Zana, a prominent Kurdish politician and the first Kurdish woman to win a seat in Turkish parliament, has been sentenced by the Diyarbakır 5th High Criminal Court to 10 years in prison. The charges are in response to “nine speeches she made in 2007-2008 at news conferences and public meetings” (source) in which she has been accused of “spreading militant propaganda,” a common claim used by Turkish authorities to justify the arrests of countless Kurdish activists, students and politicians throughout the country. Not too long ago, Serefeddin Halis, a former MP in the Turkish parliament has been sentenced to 15 years in jail on charges of perpetuating “propaganda.” The pro-Kurdish BDP is facing an ongoing violent crackdown, where members and activists of this political party are routinely arrested and imprisoned without trial, sometimes along with their very young children.

Zana had already been imprisoned for 10 years between 1994 and 2004. Since her release she has faced continuous charges.