Kurdish politician Selma Irmak sentenced to four years in prison

Selma Irmak was sentenced to over four years in prison in Turkey for disparaging the government and insulting the president.

Kurdish politician Selma Irmak WAS sentenced in absentia in Amed (tr. Diyarbakir) to more than four years in prison. The former HDP MP, who is living in exile in Germany due to political persecution, was charged for a TV appearance in 2015, when Selma Irmak spoke out about brutal crimes committed by the Turkish state, including the execution of the actor and activist Hacı Lokman Birlik, whose body was dragged through Şirnak by an armoured car, and the display of the naked body of Ekin Wan, a fallen guerrilla fighter, by soldiers of the Turkish army.

Selma Irmak's lawyer Raci Bilici argued in court that his client's remarks fell within the scope of freedom of expression and demanded acquittal. The court sentenced the politician to one year and three months imprisonment for disparaging the government and two years and eleven months for insulting the president.

Selma Irmak has spent many years in prison in Turkey and is a defendant in several criminal cases, including the so-called Kobanê trial against the former HDP executives. In 2016, the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) ruled that the arrest of Irmak and twelve other former HDP MPs was politically motivated and a violation of Article 18 of the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR).