Former deputy arrested shortly after his release

Former Republican People’s Party (CHP) deputy Eren Erdem, who was released pending trial yesterday, was arrested again by an İstanbul court today.

The İstanbul Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office objected to Erdem’s release minutes after the İstanbul 23rd High Criminal Court made its ruling, claiming that he posed a flight risk. A higher court accepted its objection and issued a detention warrant for Erdem yesterday.

The İstanbul 24th High Criminal Court today ruled in favor of the prosecutor’s office and ordered Erdem’s re-arrest. The court said there has been no change in the “strong criminal suspicion” against Erdem and that he was detained while leaving Turkey (in June 2018).

Pro-government Internet trolls were jubilant as the former deputy has been forced to remain behind bars, whereas his mother, Hüsniye Erdem, who had expected to see her son outside İstanbul’s Silivri Prison for the first time in months, broke down in tears.

Erdem was accused of aiding a terrorist organization of which he was not a member, revealing the identity of a secret witness and violating the confidentiality of a criminal investigation in an indictment approved by the court in May. The public prosecutor has demanded a prison sentence of between eight-and-a-half and 19 years.

“Immediate arrest after release” has become a common practice in Turkey, where President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan enjoys total control over the judicial system. Judges and prosecutors who released critical defendants in the past were either fired or suspended.

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