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Turkish court sentences Erdogan opponent to nearly 10 years in jail

Bulent Kilic, AFP | Canan Kaftancioglu of the opposition Republican People's Party (CHP) leaves the Caglayan court house in Istanbul on September 6, 2019.

A Turkish court on Friday sentenced a prominent opposition official to nine years and eight months in prison for insulting the president and spreading terrorist propaganda, a lawmaker from the main opposition party said.

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The Republican People's Party (CHP) said Canan Kaftancioglu, head of its Istanbul branch and one of the strongest opposition voices within the party, will not immediately go to jail pending appeals.

The indictment also accused Kaftancioglu of insulting the government and public servants, inciting hatred and enmity, mostly on the basis of tweets posted between 2012 and 2017.

Turkey's lira briefly weakened to 5.7250 against the dollar from 5.70 when the court decision was announced, before recovering most of that loss.

Kaftancioglu played a significant role in municipal elections in Istanbul which saw the CHP take over the mayoralty, which had been held by President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's AK Party and its Islamist predecessors for the last 25 years.

Speaking outside Istanbul's main courthouse following the verdict, Kaftancioglu said that it would not silence her.

"Neither you all, nor I deserved this. If the court ruling is not in line with the law and is shaped by the wishes of the political power, it means there is no law in this country," she told reporters.

"The cases opened are concluded not in the courtrooms but in the rooms of the (presidential) palace," she added. A crowd of supporters chanted: "Shoulder to shoulder against fascism."

The appeals court will deliver a verdict within six months and then the decision can be appealed with the Court of Cassation, Turkey's highest appeals court, the CHP said.

Since her appointment last year as the CHP's provincial head, Kaftancioglu has been heavily criticised by members of Erdogan's AK Party.

(REUTERS)

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