Five jailed Kurdish lawmakers apply to Turkey's Constitutional Court for release

Five jailed Kurdish lawmakers apply to Turkey's Constitutional Court for release

Five jailed Kurdish lawmakers apply to Turkeys Constitutional Court for release

The lawyers of the five arrested lawmakers have requested their release by making a petition to the Turkish Constitutional Court on Dec. 31. DHA photo

Five jailed lawmakers, including four from the Peace and Democracy Party (BDP), have applied to the Constitutional Court for their release Dec. 31 after a local court refused to grant their freedom two weeks ago, despite the Republican People’s Party (CHP) lawmaker Mustafa Balbay being freed in similar circumstances earlier this month.

The five lawmakers - BDP deputies İbrahim Ayhan, Selma Irmak, Faysal Sarıyıldız, Gülser Yıldırım, and independent deputy Kemal Aktaş - are detained as part of the Kurdish Communities Union (KCK) trial.

The jailed deputies’ lawyers have justified their petition by stressing their detention was violating the rights of an elected person and its electors, echoing the top court’s Dec. 4 ruling on Balbay.

“This heavy blow to conducting politics as a member of Parliament cannot be describe as being in line with the requisites of a democratic society,” the petition said. 

The rejection of the five lawmakers' release by the Diyarbakır courts had angered the BDP. The predominantly Kurdish party slammed the decision, labeling it as “political hostage-taking.”

The outspoken lawmaker Sırrı Süreyya Önder, who quit the BDP for the recently formed Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP), denounced “discriminatory practices against arrested deputies,” pointing out that the Kurdish lawmakers’ situation was no different than Balbay’s.

The lawyers also referred to a recent ruling of the Constitutional Court on the “unconstitutionality” of long detentions and to the European Court of Human Right’s jurisprudence on the matter. 

The petition also requested 20,000 Turkish Liras of compensation for each of the lawmakers. 

Balbay was convicted in the Ergenekon trial, but an appeal process for the case is ongoing.

Convicted MHP lawmaker may lose parliamentary seat 

Meanwhile, the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) lawmaker Engin Alan, who has been convicted to 28 years in jail in the Balyoz (Sledgehammer) trial, faces losing his parliamentary seat. Turkey’s Supreme Court of Appeals, which approved Alan’s sentence last October, is reportedly preparing a letter to annul Alan’s mandate as MP, as the last appeal was settled.

Alan’s parliamentary seat may become invalid after the letter is read out to the General Assembly, Turkish media reports.