Turkey’s Court of Cassation rejects CHP deputy’s appeal for release

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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. Turkey's main opposition leader, Republican People's Party (CHP) leader Kemal Kilicdaroglu, called for a "walk of justice" after former journalist turned CHP lawmaker Enis Berberoglu was sentenced to 25 years in jail on June 14, 2017 for leaking classified information to a newspaper. / AFP PHOTO / OZAN KOSE

The 17th Chamber of Turkey’s Supreme Court of Appeals on Monday rejected a petition from jailed Republican People’s Party (CHP) deputy Enis Berberoğlu, who requested that a verdict be vacated and he be released on the grounds that he was re-elected in a general election on June 24.

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

The lawyers applied to the Supreme Court of Appeals citing the 83rd article of the constitution, which governs the immunity of lawmakers, stating that Berberoğlu had regained his immunity and demanded that his verdict be vacated until a parliamentary decision is made to again remove his immunity and that he be retried by a lower court.

The 16th Chamber of the Supreme Court of Appeals rejected Berbaroğlu’s request on July 20, after which he protested the ruling with self-imposed isolation.

“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.

CHP leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu started a “Justice March” following Berberoğlu’s arrest in June 2017, walking from Ankara to İstanbul, where Berberoğlu was incarcerated. Although the march attracted much attention, it failed to affect the legal proceedings.

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