Turkey sentences wife of jailed Kurdish politician over medical report

ISTANBUL (Reuters) – The wife of prominent jailed Kurdish opposition figure Selahattin Demirtas has been sentenced in Turkey to 2-1/2 years in jail after being found to have provided inaccurate information over a date in a medical report, her lawyers said.

Lawyers for Basak Demirtas, 44, said she was sentenced by a court over an incorrect date on a medical report issued by a doctor in the southeastern province of Diyarbakir in 2015, which she passed to her employer while taking sick leave.

Her husband Selahattin Demirtas, the former pro-Kurdish party leader and one of Turkey’s best-known politicians, has been in jail for nearly five years on terrorism-related charges that he denies.

The European Parliament’s Turkey rapporteur, Nacho Sanchez Amor, said her sentencing seemed “political”.

Amor wrote on Twitter that “2.5 years of prison for a mere clerical error concerning a medical record is appalling and seems beyond common sense. It just looks so political. It gives the measure of the worrying state of Turkish judiciary.”

Basak Demirtas is free pending appeal of her conviction, which could take more than a year to finalise.

There was an error on the records that could have been corrected by examining the appointment book of the local healthcare centre, Demirtas’s lawyers said, adding that they will appeal the ruling.

(Writing by Ezgi Erkoyun; Editing by William Mallard and Jan Harvey)

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