CHP urges ‘putting politics aside’ for release of Ergenekon convict with cancer

CHP urges ‘putting politics aside’ for release of Ergenekon convict with cancer

CHP urges ‘putting politics aside’ for release of Ergenekon convict with cancer

The Republican People’s Party (CHP) head speaks to reporters outside the Silivri prison in Istanbul after visiting Ergenekon convict Fatih Hilmioğlu on Jan. 28. AA photo

Main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu has urged both the president and the prime minister to take “necessary steps” for the release of the Ergenekon convict Fatih Hilmioğlu from jail, in order for Hilmioğlu to receive urgent cancer treatment at hospital. 

“Let’s put the politics aside. If someone is being gradually sent to death and knows he is going to die, keeping him in jail is not the right thing to do,” Kılıçdaroğlu told reporters on Jan. 28, after visiting the jailed former rector of Malatya’s İnönü University, who was sentenced to 23 years for his alleged involvement in the coup plot case.

“I am calling on all officials from here. Let’s put an end to this human tragedy. This tragedy is making Turkey’s conscience bleed. [Hilmioğlu] was also in jail when he lost his son. Not only him, but there are a lot of convicts who are living with a similar tragedy,” he added.

Kılıçdaroğlu also emphasized that President Abdullah Gül could intervene more directly, despite not having the power to grant an amnesty.

“I am also calling on the president. You have authority, please use it. If some [bureaucrats] in public institutions are not using them, they should be mobilized. This is not a daily, burning political topic, but a human life is at stake. It will be totally unacceptable to find a solution only after [Hilmioğlu] dies,” he said. 

Hilmioğlu has been diagnosed with stage three liver cancer, his family said earlier this month.

Kılıçdaroğlu said Hilmioğlu, as a doctor, was well aware of the deterioration of his health.

Last week, Gül told reporters that he had given instructions to the relevant authorities to have Hilmioğlu tried without detention, as his case is in the appeal stage, but has not received the medical report yet.

“I can only step in if files come before me after a certain procedure from the [Council of] Forensic Medicine. In this regard, I wish for the files both of those who are ill and those who are becoming very old to reach me at once, so that I can do my part,” Gül said.

Hilmioğlu’s lawyers filed an individual application to the Constitutional Court for his release on Jan. 16, citing a breach of the right to life and a violation of his right to a fair trial. A decision is still pending.