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1 Jul, 2021 16:01

Ankara’s top court rules detention of pro-Kurdish lawmaker violated his rights

Ankara’s top court rules detention of pro-Kurdish lawmaker violated his rights

Turkey’s Constitutional Court has ruled the detention of pro-Kurdish politician Omer Faruk Gergerlioglu earlier this year on terrorism charges violated his rights, ordering his release from prison and reinstatement in parliament.

Gergerlioglu, who had served in Turkey’s legislature as a member of the Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP), was stripped of his parliamentary status in March for sharing comments from the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) on social media several years earlier.

Later, he was imprisoned for “spreading terrorism propaganda” after the country’s highest appeals court upheld his 2018 conviction.

Turkey’s top court declared that Gergerlioglu was entitled to engage in political activity and sit in the country’s parliament, stating that his rights to personal freedom and security had been violated.

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Following the Constitutional Court’s ruling on Thursday, Gergerlioglu has been released from prison, with the matter referred to parliament so he can regain his seat in the legislature.

Responding after being freed, Gergerlioglu tweeted that “The people won. Democracy won,” calling the court’s ruling “a historic decision” that “ended the unlawfulness” of the move to strip him of his political power and imprison him. 

Thousands of the HDP group’s members have already been charged over the party’s links to the PKK, which is banned in Turkey as a terrorist group. Following Gergerlioglu’s release on Thursday, the HDP tweeted to urge the immediate release of 10 of the party’s deputies and 4,000 of its members who are still in prison.

The ruling that Gergerlioglu’s rights were violated by his detention comes despite the Constitutional Court accepting an indictment in June from Turkey’s top prosecutor seeking to ban the HDP for its ties to the PKK and militants, and paving the way for the party to be outlawed.

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