IĞDIR - Co-mayor of the HDP-run Halfeli town in Iğdır province, Hasan Safa, was detained on March 23 and replaced by a trustee appointed by the government.
The democratically elected and unlawfully deposed mayor has been remanded in custody for alleged “membership to an illegal organization” on Saturday and sent to Iğdır Prison.
Lawyer Haydar Mızrak was able to meet Safa on Tuesday and said the following; “Safa was invited to the governorate by the Deputy Governor of Iğdır before his dismissal to be informed of the decision. The Deputy Governor asked him to share a message 'reassuring people' and asking them to stay calm. When Safa refused, he was detained.”
On March 23rd, Turkish police raided several HDP-run municipalities and houses in multiple Kurdish localities, detaining many elected mayors, and unlawfully replacing them with appointed Turkish government officials known as the "trustees."
The newly seized HDP-run Kurdish municipalities are as follows: Batman (city center of the province of Batman), Silvan, Ergani, Lice, and Eğil (four districts of Diyarbakir), Güroymak (district of Bitlis), Gökçebağ (town in Siirt), and Halfeli (town in Iğdır).
Including these new cases, Turkish government has officially appointed trustees to a total of 40 HDP-run municipalities since the local elections held on 31 March 2019. (This number excludes the 6 HDP co-mayors who won the elections but denied of their certificates of election with the excuse that they had previously been dismissed from their jobs by emergency rule decrees).
In addition to current detentions, 21 Kurdish co-mayors elected on 31 March 2019 remain behind bars. (Most recently, on 9 March 2020, Dr. Selcuk Mizrakli, co-mayor of Diyarbakir metropolitan municipality, was sentenced to 9 years, 4 months and 15 days with the typical charge of 'membership in a terrorist organization' after a trial that was super-accelerated by the government.)