Turkey’s Constitutional Court on Thursday ruled that Ömer Faruk Gergerlioğlu’s rights were violated through his imprisonment. The Court ruled that Turkey had violated his right to be elected and engage in political activities, as well as his right to liberty and security.
Gergerlioğlu, the former pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) MP and a prominent human rights activist was stripped of his parliamentary status in March and was subsequently jailed.
Turkey’s highest Court sent a notice to the Kocaeli High Criminal Court, which had ordered Gergerlioğlu’s arrest, calling for his release. However, despite days having passed since the ruling was made, Gergerlioğlu has not yet been released.
To protest against this delay and in order to demand his urgent release, the HDP launched a justice vigil in front of Sincan Prison, where Gergerlioğlu is being held. The police did not allow the peaceful protest to take place and physically attacked the HDP’s activists and the journalists who was trying to cover the protest.
Gergerlioğlu’s son Salih was also detained along with many others, MA reported. Reporters covering the protest were also attacked by the police.
Among those detained are administrative members of the HDP’s party offices in Ankara, Artı TV cameraman Nazım Fayık and Melek Çetinkaya, a long-time protester in Turkey who has been calling for justice for her imprisoned son Furkan Cetinkaya, an air force cadet who was 19 years old when he was sentenced to life imprisonment for participating in the coup attempt against President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan in July 2016.
After the attack by the police, the HDP activists continued with their vigil demanding Gergerlioğlu’s release.
The former MP has been facing a two year and six month prison sentence on ‘propaganda’ related charges, over a 2016 Twitter post in which he commented on a story that reported upon the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) calling on the Turkish state to take a step towards peace.
On 18 March, right after Gergerlioğlu’s status as an MP was revoked, a top public prosecutor filed an indictment seeking to ban the HDP.
After he brought widespread claims of strip-searches and harassment in prisons and detention centres to the floor of parliament, Gergerlioğlu became a target for the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) and the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP). Not long after, he joined the hundreds of HDP politicians, including the party’s former co-chairs Figen Yüksekdağ and Selahattin Demirtaş, in prison.