All eyes on Silivri court as MPs request release

All eyes on Silivri court as MPs request release

ANKARA - Hürriyet Daily News
All eyes on Silivri court as MPs request release

The Silivri court is expected to make a decision today following the the release demands of several suspects such as jailed lawmakers and former chief of Gen. Staff. DHA photo

ll eyes in Turkey are turned to Istanbul’s Silivri district where a major court hearing today in the Ergenekon coup plot case will deal with the release demands of many high-profile suspects, including jailed lawmakers.

A Diyarbakır court’s July 7 ruling rejected the release demand of Peace and Democracy Party (BDP) deputy Faysal Sarıyıldız and caused disappointment as a legal arrangement extending the scope of judicial control measures raised optimism for the eight jailed deputies.

Main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu has voiced caution on the issue. “We don’t cross a bridge until we come to it. Let’s see whether they [the jailed lawmakers] will be released or not. First we have to see it,” Kılıçdaroğlu said when he was asked whether his party will call the Parliament for an extraordinary session in case the jailed lawmakers are released.

A recently adopted third judicial reform package raised hope for the eight jailed deputies, who were elected while in prison during the June 12, 2011 elections. The reform package gives judges the ability to implement judicial control without a maximum limit, rather than relying on detention. Previously this was only applicable for those facing charges punishable with up to three years in jail.

After the recent reform came into force, many suspects in the Ergenekon and Balyoz (Sledgehammer) coup plot cases and the Kurdistan Communities Union (KCK) case, including jailed lawmakers, appealed to courts for their release, citing the recent judicial amendments.

The Diyarbakır 6th High Criminal Court rejected the request to release Sarıyıldız, who has been behind bars since 2009 for having alleged links with the KCK.

Behind bars

Eight deputies are currently behind bars, all of whom are from opposition parties: Five BDP lawmakers are behind bars on the grounds that they have connections with the KCK, two CHP lawmakers are being tried in Ergenekon case and one MHP lawmaker is on trial for alleged links with the Balyoz coup plot.

The release demands of Balbay and Haberal are to be reviewed in today’s Ergenekon case hearing. However, the CHP is not expecting their release.İlhan Cihaner, a CHP deputy and former prosecutor, said that jailed lawmakers would not be released despite the legal arrangement extending the scope of judicial control measures. “The controversial detentions and unfair arrests continue on the grounds that there’s a likelihood [suspects will] flee and evidence will be spoiled. Judicial control measures cannot be applied for those have a likelihood to flee and spoliation of evidence. Their detentions are not fair anyway. They were arrested via breach of law. For this reason, expecting the release of jailed lawmakers is not realistic,” Cihaner told reporters Saturday in Kahramanmaraş.

Meanwhile, deputy Prime Minister Bekir Bozdağ said the decision was up to the courts and had nothing to do with the government.