Journalists and academics bear the brunt of the massive crackdown on freedom of expression in Turkey. Scores of them are currently subject to criminal investigations or behind bars. This website is dedicated to tracking the legal process against them.
Three opposition lawmakers stripped of parliamentary status
HDP’s Leyla Güven and Musa Farisoğulları and CHP’s Enis Berberoğlu taken into custody several hours after the decision was read out in Parliament and subsequently sent to prison
Main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) lawmaker Enis Berberoğlu and opposition Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) lawmakers Leyla Güven and Musa Farisoğulları were jailed on 4 June 2020 after the Parliament stripped them of their status as MPs based on Supreme Court of Appeals judgments that upheld their convictions. All three were subsequently taken into custody the same day and imprisoned.
Berberoğlu, who was sent to the Maltepe L Type Prison, was sent home on 5 June under house arrest as part of Covid-19 measures in open prisons, which have reportedly been extended until 31 July 2020.
Berberoğlu was sentenced in February 2018 to 5 years and 10 months in prison on the charge of “disclosing confidential information pertaining to the security of the state” for providing footage to Cumhuriyet daily for a 2015 news report about an alleged weapons transfer to Syria on trucks operated by Turkey’s National Intelligence Agency (MİT). The Supreme Court of Appeals upheld Berberoğlu’s conviction in September 2018 and ruled for his sentence to be suspended until the end of his parliamentary term as lawmaker.
HDP’s Güven and Farisoğulları were sentenced to 6 years and 3 months and 9 years in prison, respectively, on the charge of “membership of a terrorist organization.”
CHP lawmaker Utku Çakırözer told P24 that an individual application by Berberoğlu against his conviction was still pending before the Constitutional Court, and that the Parliament stripping Berberoğlu of his status as a lawmaker at this point amounted to meddling with the Constitutional Court’s procedures.
Çakırözer added that the decision to strip the three MPs of their statuses was also against common parliamentary practice. “Normally in such cases, the decision [to strip an MP of their status] is postponed until the end of the parliamentary term,” Çakırözer said, adding: “Furthermore, the decision was signed by [Vice President] Fuat Oktay, [a government official] who was not elected but appointed to his post. This is an unlawful interference with the people’s will.”