Expelled lawmaker ordered to surrender to judicial authorities in 10 days

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Ömer Faruk Gergerlioğlu, a politician and renowned human rights activist who was expelled from the Turkish Parliament last week, has received a notification from Turkish authorities telling him to surrender himself in 10 days to serve a prison sentence, according to Turkish media reports.

In a move that sparked shockwaves in Turkey and the international community, the Turkish Parliament on Wednesday expelled Gergerlioğlu, a politician from the pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP), due to a prison sentence he was handed down for a tweet. Gergerlioğlu was stripped of his parliamentary membership after a Supreme Court of Appeals decision upholding a prison sentence of two years, six months given to the rights advocate lawmaker on charges of disseminating terrorist propaganda was read out in the General Assembly.

The former lawmaker said he will not surrender to the authorities because he thinks his prison sentence is unlawful.

“I will not turn myself in. I will continue my justice watch at home,” said Gergerlioğlu.

Following his expulsion from the legislature, Gergerlioğlu refused to leave the parliament building and launched a “justice watch” in his office; however, he was detained in a dawn raid on Sunday morning and removed from the premises. He was released after a brief detention.

The HDP politician also said he would not be allowed into the parliament if he goes there and even heard that vehicles driving onto the parliament campus were being checked to prevent any attempt by him to get into the building.

Gergerlioğlu said he would continue his “justice watch” in prison if he is sent to jail.

In the meantime, the HDP announced in a statement on Monday that a group of lawyers, party lawmakers and Gergerlioğlu will on Tuesday file an application at Turkey’s Constitutional Court for the annulment of the expulsion of Gergerlioğlu from the Turkish Parliament.

In early March Gergerlioğlu had petitioned the top court, claiming that his right to freedom of expression was violated over the prison sentence handed down to him on terrorism-related charges.

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