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On justice as journalists, politicians are in jail

15 4 0
11.09.2017
I received a letter two days ago, seemingly sent to many other colleagues by Selahattin Demirtaş, the co-chair of the Kurdish problem-focused Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) who has been in jail in the western province of Edirne for more than 10 months without having appeared before a judge.

It is not clear when he is going to appear in court, since two separate courts so far refused to try him regarding the indictment prepared by prosecutors accusing him of helping making propaganda for the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) through his speeches in and outside of the Turkish parliament.

In his letter, Demirtaş said his arrest (on Nov. 4, 2016) and captivity was against the 83rd article of the Turkish constitution, which suggests that members of parliament cannot be held responsible for what they say in parliament and the repetition of the same speech elsewhere. He was arrested due to an amendment on May 20, 2016, which lifted the immunities of MPs, who have had indictments against them sent to the Justice Ministry on activities up until then but did not cover events after that.

“It was a grave mistake,” Demirtaş said. “Parliamentary immunities are lifted retrospectively, not for future activity. It is a weird situation where I have legal immunity and don’t have it at the same time,” he added. He said it was the reason why no court can try him and nine other MPs of the HDP. “We have been arrested upon the orders of politicians, not courts,” he claimed.

The constitutional amendment in May 2016, encouraged by President Tayyip Erdoğan and submitted by his ruling Justice and Development Party (AK Parti), was supported not only by Devlet Bahçeli’s Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) but also Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu’s social democratic Republican People’s Party (CHP).
Ironically, the first MP who was sentenced and put in jail, on June 14, from the CHP was Enis Berberoğlu, with a........

© Hürriyet Daily News