Jailed former deputy Erdem ends hunger strike

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A picture taken on November 17, 2015 shows former Republican People’s Party (CHP) lawmaker Eren Erdem as he makes a speech at the Turkish parliament in Ankara. An Istanbul court ordered Eren Erdem, a former MP for Istanbul from the Republican People's Party (CHP), be charged for "deliberately and willingly helping an armed terror group, without being a member", Anadolu news agency reported. Erdem will now remain in jail ahead of trial. He risks between nine-and-a-half and 22 years in jail if convicted. / AFP PHOTO / CUMHURIYET DAILY NEWSPAPER / Necati Savas

Eren Erdem, a former deputy from Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP), on Tuesday ended a hunger strike he had started in protest of his trial.

The announcement came from fellow CHP politician Muharrem İnce, who paid a visit to Erdem in Silivri Prison. He began the strike on Jan. 28.

Erdem has been in pretrial detention for seven months on terrorism charges.

The İstanbul 23rd High Criminal Court ruled on Jan. 7 to release Erdem pending trial and subject to judicial supervision, but an Istanbul prosecutor had objected to his release, claiming the former deputy posed a flight risk. A higher court subsequently ordered his re-arrest.

On Thursday, Erdem’s father called on his jailed son to halt his hunger strike.

A CHP deputy said last week that Erdem had “emptied his refrigerator” and was about to launch a hunger strike that he referred to as “justice fasting,” while his lawyers were trying to talk him out of it.

Erdem was first arrested in June 2018, just five days after he failed to secure a seat in the legislature in the parliamentary elections. Charged with “aiding a terrorist organization,” he faces a prison sentence of between nine and 22 years.

“Think about your son, your mother, those who love you. I would like to reach out to politicians, writers: We have failed to convince our son, please talk him out of it,” his father, Hasan Erdem, said in a video message aired on Halk TV.

The elder Erdem was fired on Jan. 8 after protesting a prosecutor who objected to a decision to release his son.

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