CHP leader says prison cell prepared for Berberoğlu before court ruling

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Leader of Turkey's main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP) Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu walks with a placard reading 'Justice' during a protest march in Ankara on June 15, 2017, after CHP lawmaker Enis Berberoğlu was sentenced to 25 years in jail for handing secret information to a newspaper. Thousands of supporters from Turkey's main opposition party took to the streets of Ankara on Thursday to protest the jailing of one of its MPs, vowing to march to his jail in Istanbul. / AFP PHOTO / ADEM ALTAN

Main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu on Monday said three prison cells were prepared in İstanbul’s Maltepe Prison for CHP deputy Enis Berberoğlu before a court convicted and sentenced to 25 years on June 14, the tr724 news website has reported.

Kılıçdaroğlu said this shows how the government wields control over the Turkish judiciary.

“Just think: A person is being tried in court and no ruling has been made, but three special prison cells are prepared in Maltepe Prison. Final preparations are made because it is known beforehand that the person will be convicted. It is known how long a prison sentence he will be given, and a place is readied for him,” said Kılıçdaroğlu at a press conference held on the 12th day of a “March of Justice” he launched to protest the arrest of Berberoğlu.

Berberoğlu was sentenced to 25 years in prison by an İstanbul court on June 14 for leaking information for a report on National Intelligence Organization (MİT) trucks transporting weapons to jihadists in Syria.

“This situation is one of the most concrete examples showing the link between the government and the judiciary. This is one of the basic things that legitimizes our march. A decision which was expected to be made by a court was made by the executive body. The court just read it,” added Kılıçdaroğlu.

But Justice Minister Bekir Bozdağ denied Kılıçdaroğlu’s claim about the Berberoğlu ruling, calling it an “explicit lie” and “slander.”

The Birgün daily has reported that the CHP’s March of Justice attracted the biggest crowd on Monday and that about 10,000 people walked with Kılıçdaroğlu.

The march, which was launched on June 15 in Ankara, is expected to last for 25 days and end at Maltepe Prison in İstanbul, where Berberoğlu is jailed.

On Saturday, the pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) decided to participate in the CHP’s March of Justice as well.

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