Turkey: Ex-Kurdish party leader sentenced on terror charge

A Turkish court on September 7, 2018 gave Selahattin Demirtas four years and eight months in jail for making terror propaganda. (AFP)
Updated 07 September 2018
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Turkey: Ex-Kurdish party leader sentenced on terror charge

ANKARA: A court in Istanbul has convicted a former co-chairman of Turkey’s main pro-Kurdish political party of “engaging in terror propaganda.”
The court sentenced Selahattin Demirtas to more than four years in prison after finding him guilty on Friday.
The trial is one of several faced by Demirtas, who has been in pre-trial detention since November 2016.
He ran as the People’s Democratic Party candidate in Turkey’s presidential election from prison and garnered 8.4 percent of the vote.
The court also convicted former legislator Sirri Sureyya Onder of the same charge and gave him a prison sentence of more than three years.
The two men were accused of supporting the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party, or PKK, in speeches they delivered in 2013 during festivities marking a Kurdish spring festival.
They denied the accusation and were expected to appeal.


Houthis mobilize to fight ahead of UN envoy’s visit

Pro-government drive in an industrial district in the eastern outskirts of the port city Hodeidah. (AFP)
Updated 19 November 2018
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Houthis mobilize to fight ahead of UN envoy’s visit

  • Dozens of Houthis put on a show of strength on the outskirts of Sanaa on Saturday
  • UN special envoy Martin Griffiths said on Friday that he plans to travel to Sanaa in the coming week

SANAA: Iran-backed Houthi militias have said they are ready to mobilize more fighters to the frontline despite a lull in battleground Hodeidah, as the UN envoy prepares to visit the country to boost peace efforts.

Dozens of Houthis put on a show of strength on the outskirts of Sanaa on Saturday, apparently getting ready to head toward Hodeidah, a Red Sea city home to a vital port.

Men, some of whom looked very young, were lining up with bandoliers around their shoulders and rifles in their hands, chanting Houthi slogans.

Residents said on Sunday that relative calm had held in Hodeidah city since pro-government forces announced a pause in their offensive last week amid international calls for a cease-fire and UN-led peace efforts.  They added, however, that they remain on edge.

Meanwhile, coalition fighter jets on Sunday carried out a series of strikes targeting Houthi positions west of Marib. The strikes, which were accompanied by shelling, came after the Iranian-supported militia launched ballistic missiles toward the city of Marib. Coalition forces successfully intercepted the missiles, Yemeni army media said.

UN special envoy Martin Griffiths said on Friday that he plans to travel to Sanaa in the coming week to finalize arrangements for peace talks to take place in Sweden soon.

Hameed Assem, a member of the militia delegation expected to take part in the negotiations, said that Houthis will continue to mobilize if UN efforts for peace fail to materialize.

Pro-government forces on Wednesday suspended their 12-day offensive in Hodeidah.

Griffiths said on Friday that both the government and the Houthis have shown a “renewed commitment” to work on a political solution and have given “firm assurances” that they will attend the talks. No date has yet been set.

(AFP)