Green Left Party (YSP) parliamentary candidate Ayten Dönmez was released from prison following months of pre-trial detention over terrorism charges. The Kurdish politician had been arrested in April after then-Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu targeted her on the campaign trail for the May elections.
Dönmez’s arrest was based on a photo of two women, allegedly taken at a Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) camp. Soylu had first voiced his accusations on a live broadcast, after which Dönmez’s home was raided by the police.
The former minister later repeated his accusations during an election rally, where he said the YSP had “fielded yet another person as candidate who has worn the terrorist clothes in the terror mountains of Qandil”, the region of northern Iraq where the PKK has its headquarters.
The politician’s lawyers, on the first hearing on Thursday, argued that the women in the photo were different people and that Dönmez had no relation to either one.
Dönmez still faces up to 15 years in prison for membership in a terrorist organisation, and is facing a separate trial for aiding and abetting over sending money to her siblings behind bars.
Both cases are heard by the same court, and the new charges stem from the records of the old one, Dönmez’s lawyer Özgür Kip told the court.
The two cases were combined and Dönmez will face a single judge.
According to the Mezopotamya Agency, Dönmez, accompanied by her lawyer, attended the hearing at an İstanbul court where the prosecution sought a prison sentence of up to 15 years for Dönmez.
The court considered various factors, including the potential reclassification of the offence, the duration of Dönmez’s pretrial detention, and the evidence presented. Consequently, the court decided to grant bail to Dönmez, imposing judicial control and a travel ban as precautionary measures.