Any delay in release of jailed MP is violation of law, main opposition leader says
ANKARA – Anadolu Agency
Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu speaks during an internal party meeting in Ankara on Dec. 7. AA photoThe main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) leader has called for the immediate release of Mustafa Balbay, after a Constitutional Court ruling that the CHP deputy's long imprisonment amounts to a “violation of the law.”
“The decision of the Constitutional Court is clear. Any delay of the verdict to release Balbay is a violation of law,” Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu said during an internal party meeting in Ankara on Dec. 7.
Balbay’s lawyers, Ulaş Özkan and Oktay Yılmaz, petitioned for his release following the landmark ruling. They had been expecting a decision on Dec. 6, but the court said it would be announced next week.
The former editor-in-chief of daily Cumhuriyet was sentenced 34 years and eight months in prison on charges related to the Ergenekon coup plot trial. He was elected a CHP deputy in the 2011 elections, along with Mehmet Haberal, who was released following the Ergenekon verdict on Aug. 5.
Kılıçdaroğlu noted that many politicians had voiced opinions in support of the Constitutional Court’s decision. These included President Abdullah Gül, who described the decision as “very important,” expressing his satisfaction that the Court was able to rule unanimously on a case that had seen “subjective opinions mixed up with political, ideological perspectives.”
Deputy Prime Minister Bülent Arınç and Parliamentary Speaker Cemil Çiçek also praised the ruling.
Meanwhile, CHP head Kılıçdaroğlu also said they wanted to deliver a letter to Çiçek, who heads Parliament’s Constitution Commission, requesting him not to halt works on drafting the new Constitution.