Turkish court releases ex-HDP MP Kaya in ‘second Kobane case’

A Turkish court has released former pro-Kurdish HDP deputy Hüda Kaya after eight months in prison under judicial control measures on the first hearing of the “second Kobanê case,” where five former HDP deputies are charged for their alleged involvement in the Kobanê protests.

Pervin Buldan (L) greets newly released Hüda Kaya (R) at the Silivri Closed Women's Prison.

Duvar English

An Ankara High Criminal Court on June 25 released Hüda Kaya with judicial control measures and an international travel ban. The former deputy from the pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) was tried in the first hearing of the "Second Kobanê Case," with four other HDP members. 

Hüda Kaya participated in the hearing via the video-conferencing system SEGBİS from Silivri Prison. In her defense, she stated, "I have always believed in the sanctity of life in all its forms. When justice is not the foundation of property, but property is the foundation of justice, and sovereignty belongs to the rulers, not the people, we end up in the defendant's seat.” 

Kaya added that she faced police brutality and prison during the Feb. 28, 1997 “post-modern coup” for being an “Islamist.” 

She continued, “Governments changed, but the nature of trials did not. Back then, we were judged as Islamists, today we are judged as terrorists and separatists."

After the defenses, the prosecution requested that Kaya’s detention continue. However, the court ruled for her release with conditions, including a monthly signature requirement and a ban on leaving the country.

Kaya was detained while in a security check at the Istanbul Airport in November 2023. 

Kaya was released from prison late at night. She was greeted by many people, including Pervin Buldan, the Van Deputy of the Peoples' Equality and Democracy Party (DEM Party). Buldan herself was released from prison in May, after the court ruled she had completed her sentence as part of the Kobanê trials.

In what is dubbed the “second Kobanê trials,” HDP members and deputies Hüda Kaya, Serpil Kemalbay, Fatma Kurtulan, Pero Dündar, and Garo Paylan, will face the judge for their alleged involvement in instigating the protests from October 6-8, 2014. Kaya was the only defendant tried under custody. 

The five defendants were separated from the main Kobanê case, and the prosecutor’s office asked for 38 counts of life sentences for each of the former deputies. 

The Kobanê 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 Kobanê, just across the Syrian border. 

The defendants were accused of several crimes, including the murders of 37 people and “disrupting the unity and integrity of the state.” 

In the controversial verdicts of the Kobanê trial, the court sentenced former HDP co-chairs Selahattin Demirtaş and Figen Yüksekdağ to 42 years and 30 years, respectively.