Turkish court sentences former Kurdish mayor to 16 years for ‘inciting violence’

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A Turkish court sentenced a former mayor of a Kurdish city and opposition member to 16 years in jail for being a member of terrorist group, “abusing of power,” and “inciting hatred and violence,” in what is Turkey’s latest crackdown on pro-Kurdish parties.

Kaya, who was arrested in January 2017, is a member of the People’s Democratic Party, or HDP, which has been accused by the Turkish government of having links to the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK).

The 16-year sentence against the former mayor is “illegal and unlawful,” the HDP’s head of legal affairs and human rights Omid Dada told Al Arabiya.

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“All charges against her are fabricated and our party is subject of political genocide,” he added.

“We reject such politicized rulings, and we confirm that the ruling was based on incorrect and false evidence provided by a Turkish special forces officer named Onal Oyar, who is currently being held on charges of torture and corruption,” Dada said.

Turkey has arrested 93 heads of Kurdish municipalities who won the local elections in 2014, out of which 83 were dismissed from their posts, according to Dada.

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