Politicians Tuğluk, Aksoy, Gür and Zozani sentenced to a total of 27 years in prison

Politicians Aysel Tuğluk, Halil Aksoy, Nazmi Gür and Adil Zozani were sentenced to a total of 27 years in prison on the charge of "propaganda for a terrorist organization".

The lawsuit filed against former Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP) co-chair Figen Yüksekdağ and HDP Honorary chair Ertuğrul Kürkçü, HDP former deputy chair Aysel Tuğluk and politicians Nazmi Gür, Esat Canan, Adil Zozani, Halil Aksoy and Hüsamettin Zenderlioğlu on the allegation of "propaganda for a terrorist organization". The sentence was handed down at the 11th hearing.

Halil Aksoy, former deputy of the Peace and Democracy Party (BDP) in Ağrı, who is held in Marmara Closed Prison, and politician Nazmi Gür, who is held in Sincan No. 2 F Type High Security Closed Prison, attended the hearing at Hakkari 2nd High Criminal Court via Audio and Video Information System (SEGBIS). Politician Adil Zozani was present in the courtroom. The politicians' lawyers also attended the hearing.

The files of politicians Figen Yüksekdağ, Ertuğrul Kürkçü and Hüsamettin Zenderlioğlu were separated in previous hearings and combined with other files in which they were tried.

'The trial is not legal'

Halil Aksoy, who made additional defense at the hearing, said that an effort was made during the period called "solution process" and commissions, including the Parliament, were formed in this context. Stating that he was a member of parliament at that time, Aksoy underlined that his trial for the statements he made was not legal. Aksoy said that his statements were within the scope of freedom of expression.

'There is no evidence in the file'

Nazmi Gür said that the indictment was not prepared in accordance with the procedure and added: “There was no summary report submitted to the Parliament when I was a member of parliament. There is no evidence in the file. The file consists of the report prepared by the law enforcement. I think the file should be rejected on procedural grounds, and I repeat my request in this regard."

'The ministry and governorship gave permission to visit Imrali'

Eylem Arzu Karaoğlu, lawyer of politicians Halil Aksoy and Aysel Tuğluk, repeated Aksoy's request for an extended investigation. Karaoğlu said: “We demand that the speeches made by our client in Parliament be brought into the file and an expert report be obtained. We request that the photographs and videos be re-examined. We think that the statements in Kurdish made by our client do not constitute a criminal element. However, they were used to demanding a sentence. We demand that these speeches be translated into Turkish and evaluated as a whole by entrusting them to an expert. The lawyer added that the visit to Imralı at that time was made with the permission of the Ministry of Internal Affairs and the Governorship.

Request for postponement of prosecution for Tuğluk

Karaoğlu continued: “As for our client Aysel Tuğluk, we’d like to remind that she suffers from dementia and her condition continues to be serious. There is a postponement of execution in the file in which she is convicted. We request that your court make a decision in this direction for the client."

27 years sentence in total

The prosecution demanded that the request for expanded investigation be rejected. The court rejected all requests. Announcing its decision, the court sentenced Adil Zozani to 7 years and 6 months in prison, Halil Aksoy to 7 years and 6 months, Aysel Tuğluk to 6 years, and Nazmi Gür to 6 years in prison.

The court decided to acquit Esat Canan.

The indictment

A delegation consisting of officials from the Party (SDP) and the Freedom and Solidarity Party (ÖDP), the Democratic Society Congress (DTK), the Socialist Party of the Oppressed (ESP), the Labor Party (EMEP), the Socialist Democracy visited the region of Şemdinli (Şemzînan) district of Hakkari (Colemêrg) on 17 August 2012. Clashes had been going on between the Turkish army and HPG guerrillas on 23 July 2012, and lasted for about two weeks.

The politicians in the delegation were Aysel Tuğluk, Figen Yüksekdağ, Ertuğrul Kürkçü, Adil Zozani, Nazmi Gür. The delegation was followed by journalists working in the Turkish media. Because of the images in the press showing that 4 HPG members blocked the delegation in the village of Bağlar and checked their IDs on their way back, an investigation was opened against Halil Aksoy, Hüsamettin Zenderlioğlu and Esat Canan in 2021 on the grounds of "propaganda for a terrorist organization".

The indictment prepared within the scope of the investigation accused the members of the delegation to greet the members of the “illegal organization” and make the victory sign in the images. The indictment also claimed that the politicians under investigation chanted slogans. The statements made by the politicians to the press on various dates were also included as evidence of the accusation. The indictment was prepared by Ankara Public Prosecutor Ahmet Altun on 31 March 2022, for allegedly making "terrorist propaganda". The file was then sent to Hakkari on the grounds that it was "the place where the crime was committed".