Charter panel in bid to free detained MPs

Charter panel in bid to free detained MPs

ANKARA - Hürriyet Daily News
Charter panel in bid to free detained MPs

Five deputies are currently in detention, including two from the CHP, one from the BDP and one from the MHP. The controversial issue remains unsolved.

Parliament’s Constitution Conciliation Commission has designed a formula which could be a remedy for the detained deputies.

“Deputies shall not be liable for their votes, statements and thoughts concerning parliamentary functions. A deputy shall not be taken into custody, arrested and interrogated for an offence committed before an election unless there is no decision made by the Parliament through a secret vote,” says a clause which is approved by all four parties during a debate on the article covering parliamentary immunity which took place on May 23.

This provision shall not apply in cases where a deputy is caught in the act of committing manslaughter. In such case, the related authority will have to notify the Parliament of the incident. The demand for lifting the immunity of a deputy will be assumed to have been refused if the Parliament does not make a decision on the demand within 90 days.

Parliament’s decision to grant permission for custody, arrest or interrogation of a deputy will be limited to the crime for which he is accused.

The execution of a criminal sentence imposed on a deputy either before or after his election shall be suspended until he ceases to be a member; the statute of limitations does not apply during the term of membership.

The situation of eight detained deputies, who are currently behind bars and all of whom are from opposition parties, has been controversial since their election to Parliament in June 2011. The third judicial reform package, which expanded the use of the judicial control mechanism and came into force in July 2012, raised hopes for them, but the courts rejected their release. Five of the deputies currently in detention come from the Peace and Democracy Party (BDP), two are from the CHP and one is from the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP).