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Pro-Kurdish opposition leader goes on trial in Turkey on terror-related charges

Pro-Kurdish opposition leader goes on trial in Turkey on terror-related charges
From Reuters - December 7, 2017

ANKARA (Reuters) - The jailed leader of Turkeys pro-Kurdish opposition went on trial on Thursday, 13 months after his arrest on terrorism-related charges, facing up to 142 years in prison in a case closely watched by rights groups and Western governments.

Selahattin Demirtas, the co-leader of the Peoples Democratic Party (HDP), was not allowed to appear in court for security reasons and refused to take part via video link.A state prosecutor demanded he remain in jail for trial.

A charismatic former human rights lawyer who was once dubbed the Kurdish Obama by some in the international, Demirtas was arrested on Nov. 4 last year, one of more than a dozen HDP lawmakers who were arrested in a crackdown following last years attempted coup.

A crowd of several hundred gathered to show support for Demirtas in snowy weather outside the court near the capital Ankara. They joined hands and danced around small fires, singing songs in Kurdish. Demirtas is our honor, they chanted.

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