Arrested HDP lawmakers could be released: AKP MP

Arrested HDP lawmakers could be released: AKP MP

Arrested HDP lawmakers could be released: AKP MP

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Arrested lawmakers from the Kurdish issue-focused Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) could be released from pre-trial detention, ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) deputy Mehmet Ali Şahin has suggested.

“If the Constitutional Court says ‘These people are lawmakers. They should carry on their duties,’ as happened in the case of [former opposition MP] Mehmet Haberal, they could be released,” said Şahin, a deputy from the Black Sea province of Karabük. 

Former main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) lawmaker Haberal was arrested in April 13, 2009 and was initially sentenced to 12.5 years in jail in the Ergenekon coup plot case. He was later released after the Constitutional Court ruled that it was essential for him to carry out his duties as a lawmaker. 

“A complaint could be filed against a lawmaker, but it is necessary that they continue to carry out their duties. That was the opinion of the Constitutional Court in the Mehmet Haberal case. The court said, ‘Deputies are in jail, but this person was elected as a lawmaker while in prison and cannot carry out his duties.’ If there is no sentence against him yet, no obstacle should be put in front of a lawmaker. The HDP lawmakers have applied to the Constitutional Court and if the court makes a similar ruling like the Haberal case they could be released,” Şahin added. 

Ten HDP lawmakers, including party co-chairs Selahattin Demirtaş and Figen Yüksekdağ, were arrested in a probe launched against 14 of the party’s deputies over alleged links to the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK).

Meanwhile, the CHP’s Istanbul lawmaker Sezgin Tanrıkulu has paid a visit to Demirtaş, becoming the first MP to visit him in prison.