Top court’s Berberoğlu decision against constitution: CHP spokesperson
The Court of Cassation’s decision to reject main opposition Republican People’s Party’s (CHP) appeal to halt the imprisonment of Istanbul lawmaker Enis Berberoğlu is against the constitution, CHP spokesperson Bülent Tezcan has said, accusing the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) again of having huge influence over judicial authorities.
“No professional law official would put their signature under such a decision. This rejection is a decision that ignores the constitution and law,” Tezcan said on July 23 after the CHP’s central executive board meeting in Ankara.
His comments came after the top court rejected the CHP’s appeal demanding the release of jailed lawmaker Berberoğlu who was re-elected to parliament in the June 24 elections.
In protest to the decision, Berberoğlu announced on July 20 that he would cut off all communication with his immediate family and lawyers, stating that the Court of Cassation has “trampled down” his constitutional right.
“I have decided to not use my right to defend [myself] before the court and cut all external communication [outside of the prison]. This tough decision will surely not please my family, my lawyers, my party and my loved ones. Thus, [the decision] is independent of them and even in spite of them,” he said in a statement.
In February, an Istanbul court had sentenced Berberoğlu to five years and 10 months in jail after convicting him of disclosing government secrets. He denies the charges.
Berberoğlu was initially sentenced to 25 years in prison in 2017 for espionage over charges he gave daily Cumhuriyet a video purporting to show Turkey’s intelligence agency trucking weapons into Syria.
After his re-election, the CHP appealed to the top court, stating that he was granted legislative immunity as a lawmaker, and the prosecution of his sentence should be suspended until he is stripped of his lawmaker status. The court rejected the appeal on July 20.
Tezcan accused the AKP of having huge influence on the top court, saying the decision showed the state of emergency was “continuing.”
“A palace regime is being built by decrees. We are living in an era in which there is no law, no separation of powers. The decision on Berberoğlu has shown that again,” he said.
“We are facing a dictatorship. We think that there are still some courageous judges. We are waiting for the power over judicial bodies to be lifted,” he added.