Imprisoned CHP MP’s wife visits parliament speaker

Imprisoned CHP MP’s wife visits parliament speaker

Imprisoned CHP MP’s wife visits parliament speaker

Enis Berberoğlu (C)

Imprisoned Republican People’s Party (CHP) lawmaker Enis Berberoğlu’s wife has visited Parliament Speaker Binali Yıldırım, conveying law professionals’ criticism of lifting legislative impunity in 2016, which paved the way for Berberoğlu’s arrest. 

“I keep my hope alive that the mistakes over the restriction of the rights of Enis who had re-gained his immunity [in the June 24 elections] will be eliminated at the hands of the judiciary. I believe this injustice will be tackled,” Oya Berberoğlu said in a statement following her visit to Yıldırım on Sept. 4.

Berberoğlu, an Istanbul lawmaker and former journalist, was arrested in 2017 and sentenced to 25 years in prison over engaging in “espionage” and revealing state secrets to the public by providing daily Cumhuriyet recordings depicting National Intelligence Organization (MİT) trucks carrying weapons to Syria.

Following the appeal process, in Feb. 2018, the Court of Cassation ruled out the initial decision of the local court, reducing the sentence to five years and 10 months in prison for only “revealing state secrets.”

On the date he was arrested, Berberoğlu was the Istanbul lawmaker of the main opposition party. A constitutional change approved in 2016 with the signatures from the CHP lifted the legislative immunity of lawmakers who have prior court files. The change made Berberoğlu’s arrest possible as the case was filed a year ago.

Being elected as a lawmaker again in the June 24 elections, the status of his legislative immunity was brought to the agenda by the CHP, which appealed to the top court.

Oya Berberoğlu stressed the issue of the initial constitutional change made in 2016 that lifted legislative immunities, quoting former Council of State head Nuri Alan’s comments.

“The result of the mistaken interpretation of the provisional article in the constitution is very heavy and even fatal for suspects. Humans and their freedoms are at stake,” she said.

The higher Court of Cassation is expected to assess the CHP’s appeal in following weeks as it had previously been rejected by lower appeals courts.