She now faces 1.5 years imprisonment for the speech she made at the party conference in the southeastern city.

At yesterday’s (5 February) hearing at Diyarbakir’s 4th Heavy Penal Court, her lawyers rejected all charges; however, she was sentenced to 1.5 years imprisonment for spreading PKK propaganda. The sentence was not deferred.

The court had put a halt to the case when Tugluk was elected into parliament in July 2007. However, when the Supreme Court of appeals overturned this decree, she was retried.

Her lawyers, Sabahattin Acar and Fethi Gümüs, told bianet that her utterance had been taken out of context. They said that she had been emphasising democracy, equality, peace and brotherhood, and that her words had been twisted in order to accuse her.

Gümüs announced that they would file an appeal against the sentence today (6 February). The court did not consider any extenuating circumstances, and has sent the file to the Parliamentary Speaker’s Office in order to lift her parliamentarian immunity.

Selahattin Demirtas, also Diyarbakir MP for the DTP and parliamentary group leader, made a written statement in which he said that the government’s and Prime Minister’s politics were increasing the pressure on Kurdish politicians. He said that the party was interpreting this decree as "a punishment handed out by the PM personally."

"The judgment in Tugluk’s case is the result of a political approach. The basic arguments of this political approach have been imposed onto society by PM Erdogan," he added.

Demirtas said that he would gladly sign his name under the speech which earned Aysel Tugluk a prison sentence, and that they considered it a punishment given to all peace supporters, those who were seeking a democratic solution to the Kurdish issue, and everyone using their democratic political rights. ,

"The time to hold people to account for the prison sentences of the honourable Leyla Zana, and now for the honourable Aysel Tugluk, will be at the balllot boxes of 29 March (when local elections take place). We will make our most meaningful reply to those who think they can silence us by punishing us with an embarrassing victory, and we will present this gift to our people, who are thirsting for freedom." (BIA, Erol ONDEROGLU, February 5, 2009)

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