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Leading Turkish opposition figure jailed and then freed

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A senior member of Turkey’s main opposition party was freed Tuesday on the same day she was jailed following a conviction for having insulted President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and other public officials, Agence France-Presse reported.

The sentence handed down to Canan Kaftancıoğlu, who leads the Republican People’s Party (CHP) in İstanbul, also prohibits her from running in next year’s elections.

On May 12 the Supreme Court of Appeals confirmed Kaftancıoğlu’s conviction on three counts including “insulting” the president in a tweet.

Although she was sentenced to for four years, 11 months and 20 days, party officials earlier told AFP she could be freed at any time as can happen for sentences shorter than five years.

Tens of thousands of people rallied in Istanbul on May 21 to express their support after the court handed down its sentence.

Kaftancıoğlu, a doctor by profession, played a key role in the surprise victory of the CHP’s Istanbul mayoral candidate Ekrem Imamoğlu in 2019 — the first time Erdoğan’s party had lost power in Turkey’s biggest city in 25 years.

Imamoğlu himself will appear in court on Wednesday on charges of insulting public officials. If convicted, he faces up to four years in prison.

Kaftancıoğlu will attend the hearing, her office said.

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