Former jailed MP must have regained immunity when elected during imprisonment: Court
Turkey’s Constitutional Court has said former main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) deputy Enis Berberoğlu should have regained parliamentary immunity when he was elected in the 2018 general elections as an MP, in its justification for a ruling it made last month that his rights had been violated.
In a detailed justification of its decision, the court said that legal proceedings and his imprisonment despite having been elected in the elections had violated his rights, arguing that the proceedings should have been suspended upon his election as a lawmaker.
“The rule that the re-elected deputy will gain immunity again in accordance with the fourth paragraph of Article 83 of the Constitution is essential and remains valid,” according to the statement, which got published on the Official Gazette on Oct.9.
“There is no separate and explicit provision in the provisional Article 20 of the Constitution that prevents the re-elected deputy from enjoying his parliamentary immunity,” according to the statement announced on Sept. 17.
“In this case, what needs to be done is to apply the rule, not to expand the scope of the exception through interpretation or to introduce a new exception through comment,” read the statement.
The Constitutional Court ruled on Sept. 17 that Berberoğlu’s right to stand for election and engage in political activities along with his right to freedom and security have been breached for which a retrial will take place for Berberoğlu under the unanimous violation decision of the top court.
The Constitutional Court ruled for a violation of rights and a retrial for Berberoğlu on the grounds that he had been dismissed from deputyship with a final sentence of five years and 10 months before his application was concluded.
The Constitutional Court’s General Assembly ruled that the decision will be sent to the Court of Cassation for his retrial in order for the outcomes of the violation to be removed.
Berberoğlu had initially been sentenced to 25 years in prison on espionage charges for providing daily Cumhuriyet with a video purporting to show Turkey’s National Intelligence Organization (MİT) trucking weapons into Syria.
Berberoğlu was re-elected as the deputy in the June 24, 2018 elections. He was released from prison in late 2018 after a 15-month imprisonment.
On June 4, the Turkish Parliament stripped Berberoğlu of his deputyship.
The CHP argues that Parliament Speaker Mustafa Şentop should pave the way for the return of former lawmaker to parliament.