ERBIL — A Turkish court in the city of Diyarbakir decided to release the lawmaker and former spokesperson of the pro-Kurdish People's Democratic Party (HDP), Ayhan Bilgen, from prison on Friday.
The HDP member was arrested for the third time in January this year, and has since spent almost nine months in an Istanbul prison, waiting for trial, Kurdistan24 reported.
Despite the decision of the court to release him from prison, the case against Bilgen will continue, as the prosecution has asked for up to 23 years of imprisonment for allegedly receiving orders from the outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK).
According to the indictment against him, Murat Karayilan, top PKK commander, who has led a decades-long armed campaign against the Turkish military forces, sent instructions to Bilgen via Twitter, during the deadly riots back in November 2014. The riots, which broke as a result of HDP's protest against Ankara's inaction against the so-called Islamic State (IS) in Syria at the time, resulted in the deaths of 47 civilians and several Turkish police officers.
While the court decided to release Bilgen, ten other pro-Kurdish lawmakers, including HDP's leader Selahattin Demirtas, remain in prison on similar charges of being involved with the PKK, which is recognized as a terrorist organization by Turkey, US and the European Union.