Prosecutors release final sentencing opinion in Kobane trial: Life imprisonment for 36 HDP members

During the hearing at the Ankara 22nd Heavy Penal Court on April 14, the prosecutors unveiled their final sentencing opinion (“mütalaa”) in the trial over the 2014 Kobane protests, seeking aggravated life imprisonment for 36 defendants, including former HDP co-chairs Selahattin Demirtaş and Figen Yüksekdağ. Demirtaş deemed the opinion political, saying it was “penned at the (Presidential) Palace.”

Duvar English

In their final sentencing opinion (“mütalaa”), Turkish prosecutors have sought aggravated life imprisonment against 36 defendants, including former Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) co-chairs Selahattin Demirtaş and Figen Yüksekdağ, over their alleged involvement in the 2014 Kobane protests.

The 24th hearing of the trial took place at the Ankara 22nd Heavy Penal Court on April 14, according to reporting by the Mezopotamya news agency. The hearing was attended by representatives of political parties and NGOs.  

The prosecutor Cemalettin Şimşek read out loud the 5,000-page-long opinion against the defendants, which took eight hours. The document’s frequent use of “so-called peoples” and “imaginary country” was slammed by defendants’ lawyers, with Lawyer Kenan Maçoğlu saying: “Imaginary country and so-called peoples will give their answer both to you and this rulership on May 14 (elections)."   

The prosecutor also demanded that arrest warrants be issued for 12 defendants who are standing trial without arrest and that the jailed politicians be kept imprisoned.

Demirtaş, who is jailed in Edirne Prison, reacted against the final sentencing opinion, saying it was “penned at the (Presidential) Palace.”

“On May 14, we will tear apart and throw away both the indictment and final sentencing opinion which was penned at the (Presidential) Palace and handed to the court board. You were unable to bring us to our knees with your plots, but you will kneel down before the people,” he said in a message shared on his Twitter account.

The Kobane protests took place between Oct. 6 and 8, 2014 and caused the deaths of dozens. Protesters flooded streets in Turkey's mainly Kurdish southeast at the time, outraged over the Turkish government's inaction in protecting Syrian Kurds as ISIS besieged Kobane, just across the Syrian border. 

The prosecutor’s indictment is accusing 108 defendants, 17 of whom are jailed, of several crimes, including the murders of 37 people and “disrupting the unity and integrity of the state.” Among the defendants are former HDP politicians charged for allegedly organizing and inciting the violence despite not being involved with carrying out violent acts.