Ousted HDP mayor Özaydın released from prison after testing positive for coronavirus

Nalan Özaydın, a dismissed mayor from the HDP, has been released from prison after testing positive for the coronavirus. The court ordered Özaydın not to leave her residence and imposed an overseas travel ban for her.

Duvar English

Nalan Özaydın, a dismissed mayor from the Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP), has been released from prison after testing positive for the novel coronavirus.

Özaydınwas dismissed from her duty last year as the mayor of Mazıdağıdistrict in Turkey's southeastern province of Mardin. She was laterarrested on terrorism charges.

TheMardin 4th Heavy Penal Court on March 31 ruled thatÖzaydın is to be released from prison on the conditions that she isnot to leave her house. The court also imposed an overseas travel banfor Özaydın. The former HDP mayor will therefore stand trialwithout arrest.

Mainopposition Republican People's Party (CHP) deputy Sezgin Tanrıkulutweeted about Özaydın's release, saying Özaydın was transferredfrom a prison in the southern province of Mersin's Tarsus district toMardin after testing positive for coronavirus.

“This case is an indication that coronavirus has spread into prisons,” Tanrıkulu wrote, saying that the “presumption of innocence” is fundamental for prisoners whose trial processes are continuing but are held in custody.

The prosecutors accuse Özyadın of “being a member” of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), seen as a terrorist group by Turkey, the U.S. and the European Union. They are seeking from 7.5 to 15 years in prison for the ousted mayor.

TheTurkish government has so far appointed trustees to 40 municipalitiesthat were formerly held by the HDP since local elections in March2019. Several mayors are either in jail pending trial or have beenhanded prison sentences for crimes related to terrorism.

Theremoval of the mayors echoed the dismissal of dozens of mayors in2016 over similar accusations, part of a purge that began after afailed coup.