A Turkish court on Jan. 6 released former Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP) lawmaker Abdullah Zeydan who has been jailed over terror-related charges since Nov. 4, 2016.
Zeydan was previously sentenced to eight years and one month in prison on terror charges. The conviction was overturned by the Court of Cassation, the country's highest appeals court. In a retrial of the case, the Diyarbakır 5th Heavy Penal Court on Jan. 6 ruled for Zeydan's release from jail.
Zeydan made a statement in front of the jail, starting his speech by thanking his fellow inmate former HDP co-chair Selahattin Demirtaş. The two politicians stayed in the same cell for years in the Edirne Prison in northwestern Turkey.
“Every moment of five years [that I spent with Demirtaş] gave me a big honor. I have learned a lot from him. Because of this, I would like to firstly thank him,” Zeydan said.
Zeydan said that he was among several “hostages” held by the government as a result of an operation targeting the HDP.
“Just like the lawmakers of the AKP [ruling Justice and Development Party] and CHP [Republican People's Party], we had won the favor of our people and were elected with the people's will. Unfortunately, a coup was undertaken against the people's will in this period, and the lawmakers and co-chairs whom the people had elected were arrested,” he said.
Demirtaş, former HDP co-chair Yüksekdağ and a number of other HDP deputies were arrested on Nov. 4, 2016 on charges related to the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) in what the party calls "a political coup."
Since then, the AKP ramped up its crackdown on the HDP, going as far as to seek the party's closure.