Turkey’s Constitutional Court rules long imprisonment of CHP MP as ‘violation of rights’
ANKARA - Hürriyet
CHP Deputy Mustafa Balbay was sentenced to 34 years and eight months in prison over charges related to the Ergenekon coup trial. Hürriyet photoThe Constitutional Court ruled Dec. 4 that the long imprisonment of main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) deputy Mustafa Balbay amounts to a “violation of rights.”
The court also ruled that Balbay should be paid 5,000 Turkish Liras in compensation for the violation.
Balbay, who was sentenced to 34 years and eight months in prison on charges related to the Ergenekon coup plot trial, had earlier objected the court’s ruling due to his long imprisonment and the violation of his right to a fair trial.
The Court is also set to discuss the situation of CHP Zonguldak deputy Mehmet Haberal following his personal objection.
The decision of the court concerns all other imprisoned deputies, including CHP deputy Haberal and six other deputies from the Peace and Democracy Party (BDP) and Nationalist Movement Party (MHP), as one of its main justifications was described as an “immoderate violation of the representation of the people.”
CHP leader expresses satisfaction
CHP leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu, who is currently in Washington for a four-day visit, hailed the court’s decision on Balbay’s imprisonment.
“Long detentions have been continuously criticized by the President, by the head of the Constitutional Court and the Supreme Board of Judges and Prosecutors but no solution has been found. The Constitutional Court made a decision today, so we hope that this ruling will help to free Mr. Balbay,” Kılıçdaroğlu told reporters.
Balbay was elected a CHP deputy in the 2011 elections. The Ergenekon coup plot trial, considered the most important legal battle in recent Turkish history, reached a verdict on Aug. 5, with Istanbul’s 13th High Criminal Court handing down severe punishments, including a life sentence for former Chief of General Staff Gen. İlker Başbuğ.