CHP leader calls for end to his immunity

CHP leader calls for end to his immunity

ANKARA - Hürriyet Daily News
CHP leader calls for end to his immunity

The public prosecutor in Silivri district requested the revocation of Kılıçdaroğlu’s parliamentary immunity on Jan 9. DAILY NEWS photo, Selahattin SÖNMEZ

Main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu has reiterated his challenge to prosecutors, calling for an end to his immunity as a request for his trial was sent to Parliament by the Justice Ministry.

“The main objective of this move is to appease me and restrict my freedom of speech. But they will not be able to succeed. I did and I will say what I say. I’m calling on the Parliament speaker, Parliament’s General Assembly and the related commission members to lift my immunity. My file contains no corruption. Lift my immunity and let me account for my thoughts,” Kılıçdaroğlu said in a written statement.

The public prosecutor in Istanbul’s Silivri district Jan. 9 requested the revocation of the main opposition leader’s parliamentary immunity so he can face charges of “attempting to influence a fair trial” and “insulting public servants on duty.” The prosecutor sent an official notice to the Justice Ministry to initiate the process of filing a case against Kılıçdaroğlu. The next day Kılıçdaroğlu and all of the CHP deputies in Parliament applied for the abolition of their judicial immunity in protest of the probe attempt. 

The file against Kılıçdaroğlu was based on comments he made after a Nov. 9, 2011, visit to two jailed CHP deputies at Silivri Prison, where suspects in the Ergenekon coup case are being held. Kılıçdaroğlu likened the prison to a “concentration camp” and said he could not bear to call members of the court “judges.” 

“They call this democracy and justice. Can you call him a judge, a judge who does not act with his conscience?” Kılıçdaroğlu said. He also described the judicial system in Turkey as “under the control of the political authority. “
The prosecutor’s office acted on Kılıçdaroğlu’s remarks and prepared a two-fold indictment against him, charging him with “attempting to influence a fair trial” and “insulting members of the court.”
Before the CHP chief could stand trial, the Parliament speaker must send a petition to revoke his judicial immunity to the General Assembly, and the majority of lawmakers must vote in favor of the revocation. Aside from Kılıçdaroğlu’s, a total of 622 official petitions demanding the revocation of 79 other legislators’ immunity from prosecution are pending at the Parliament Speaker’s Office.