Top court rejects jailed CHP lawmaker’s appeal for release

Top court rejects jailed CHP lawmaker’s appeal for release

Top court rejects jailed CHP lawmaker’s appeal for release

The Constitutional Court has rejected an individual application filed by imprisoned main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) lawmaker Enis Berberoğlu, ruling that the appeal of the lawmaker based on the ground of a violation of his right to individual freedom and his right to being elected is inadmissible. 

The top court rejected Berberoğlu’s application in a decision published on the Official Gazette on Aug. 2, saying the appeal, in which he said his imprisonment was violating his right to personal safety and freedom and his right to be elected, was inadmissible for the court’s assessment.

Berberoğlu was arrested in June 2017 on espionage charges. He was first sentenced to 25 years in prison for giving daily Cumhuriyet a video purporting to show the Turkish National Intelligence Organization (MİT) allegedly trucking weapons into Syria.

In a retrial on Feb. 3, his sentence was reduced to five years in prison for “revealing government information.”

After his initial sentence he had appealed to the top court on July 23, 2017 with an individual application, saying his imprisonment was against the law and his personal freedom and security was violated, and as a lawmaker, his right to be elected and his legislative rights were breached.

He recalled previous Constitutional Court rulings which ruled for the release of Cumhuriyet editor-in-chief Can Dündar, stating that similar assessments should be made for him.

The court decided that his personal rights and freedoms were not violated as his sentence was validated by high courts and that imputed crime necessitates imprisonment.

It said he was in jail due to a prison sentence and that he wasn’t given a detention pending trial, that he was arrested on charges of revealing state secrets and the offence was within the scope of the constitutional change lifting immunity from prosecution.

The court also said Berberoğlu was re-elected as Istanbul lawmaker in the June 24 elections, but stressed the related application did not include the file on his re-election. It said there should be another individual application for his release on the ground for his re-election after all domestic legal avenues are exhausted.

“It is impossible at this stage to assess if his re-election would stand as an obstacle for his imprisonment,” it read.