Jailed CHP deputy protests court decision with self-imposed isolation

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Former journalist turned CHP lawmaker Enis Berberoglu (C), looks on during his stepfather's funeral ceremony, on June 23, 2017 in Istanbul. AFP PHOTO / OZAN KOSE

Jailed Republican People’s Party (CHP) deputy Enis Berberoğlu on Saturday decided to isolate himself from the outside world to protest a Friday decision of the 16th Chamber of the Supreme Court of Appeals, the CNN Türk reported.

“From Monday morning onward, I have decided not to have open or closed meetings with my family, my lawyers and other deputies, not to exercise my right to a defense in court and to halt all communications with the outside world,” Berberoğlu said in a written statement shared by his lawyer.

“Of course I will miss everybody I don’t see. But I know that every tree, even when living in a forest, dies standing alone.”

The 16th Chamber of the Supreme Court of Appeals on Friday rejected an application made by lawyers representing Berberoğlu to halt an ongoing trial due to his re-election on June 24.

A local court in İstanbul had sentenced Berberoğlu to five years, 10 months on the accusations of revealing state secrets as being the source of a Cumhuriyet daily report over Turkey’s National Intelligence Agency (MİT) trucks carrying weapons to Syria, a verdict that was appealed by his lawyers before the election on June 24.

The lawyers applied to the Supreme Court of Appeals on the basis of the 83rd article of the constitution, which governs the immunity of lawmakers, stating that Berberoğlu had regained his immunity and demanded that his trial be halted until a parliamentary decision was made to again remove his immunity.

The 16th Chamber will also hear the appeal of the local court’s verdict and rule whether or not to uphold it.

In May 2016 the Turkish Parliament voted to eliminate the immunity from prosecution of 138 deputies from among the 667 criminal cases from local courts filed with the legislature for review.

The CHP controversially supported the bill to avoid being seen as an ally of the Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) since most of the criminal cases involved HDP deputies.

During the discussion in parliament, ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) deputy Mustafa Şentop said in case of re-election, deputies would regain their immunity.

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