Court refuses demand of release of 67 Ergenekon suspects, bar head slams decision
ISTANBUL – Doğan News Agency
Journalist Mustafa Balbay has been detained for more than four years. DHA photoAn Istanbul court refused the demand for the release of 67 Ergenekon coup trial suspects, including former Chief of General Staff Gen. İlker Başbuğ, main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) İzmir deputy and journalist Mustafa Balbay and professor Mehmet Haberal late July 12.
Lawyers of the Ergenekon suspects had cited the abrogation of a provision allowing detentions of up to 10 years for terror suspects last week by the Constitutional Court to justify the demand for release. However the court said in its ruling that although the legal base for long detention was abrogated, it had not yet been replaced by a new law.
“The Constitutional Court does not instate a statute that creates new practices as a legislative body while abrogating a provision,” the court said in the ruling.
Turkey’s top court had given the government one year starting from the publication of the decision in the Official Gazette to change the provision. The provision that was abrogated for not complying with the standards of the European Court of Human Rights, enabled the doubling, in terror cases, of the maximum period of detention of five years allowed for suspects. More than a dozen suspects in cases such as the Ergenekon and the Kurdistan Communities Union (KCK) trials have exceeded five years of detention.
‘Decision contrary to human rights’
The head of the Union of Turkish Bar Associations (TBB) Metin Feyzioğlu slammed the decision, arguing that the Constitutional Court’s ruling meant that the provision was not in line with the human rights and should be taken into account.
“Just as a doctor won’t prescribe a medication right after he learned that it had deadly side-effects, a judge cannot rule according to a provision which was abrogated as incompatible with human rights, that limits individual freedoms,” Feyzioğlu said.
“It would be contrary to the rule of law,” he added.