Prosecutors in Turkey are seeking the maximum possible sentence for the Kurdish leader Selahattin Demirtas, demanding between 43 to 142 years in prison for the co-chair of the People's Democratic Party (HDP).
Demirtas was arrested by the Turkish security services in November 2016 with several other pro-Kurdish lawmakers, including his co-chair Figen Yusekdag, over counter-terror charges. Prosecutors are also seeking the maximum jail term for Yusekdag, a sentence of between 43 to 142 years.
The regime of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has pursued an increasingly repressive policy against the HDP and its leadership, accusing the group of collaborating with the militant group the Kurdish Worker's Part (PKK) to carry out terror attacks.
Selahattin has repeatedly denied links to the PKK telling prosecutors following his arrest that he did not condone violence of any kind.
"I reprehend violence and war in every way. I am against any politics that advocates war," he was quoted by the pro-Kursish outlet Rudaw as saying.
"The HDP bears no responsibility for any bloodshed. Those vested with the authority to make political decisions are the president and the prime minster," he added referring to Turkey's leaders.
The pro-Turkish news outlet the Daily Sabah claimed Demirtas had called for uprisings in South Eastern Turkey. The Turkish government has been fighting a ground war in Turkey's restive south-east against pro-Kurdish groups.
The arrest of Demirtas in Turkey has marked a nadir in Ankara's relations with its Kurdish minority. Prior to the start of the war in Syria in 2011, Erdoğan had pursued a policy of rapprochement with the group. Kurdish HDP MPs had propped up Erdoğan's Justice and Development Party.
However, in response to the increasing power of Kurdish armed groups fighting Syria the regime has increasingly sought the imprisonment of pro-Kurdish Turkish leaders.
In an exclusive interview with IBTimes UK prior to his arrest Demirtas said it had been hope to make progress with the Turkish regime through dialogue. "We tried to create hope. We opted for a discourse that underlines the need for living together and do away with deeply rooted [fear and...] divisions," he said.