Former MP, rights defender Gergerlioğlu released from prison after top court’s ruling

Photo: Twitter @salihro

Ömer Faruk Gergerlioğlu, a human rights defender and former lawmaker from the pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) who was was stripped of his parliamentary status in March and subsequently jailed for a social media post, has been released from prison five days after a ruling by Turkey’s Constitutional Court.

His son, Salih, shared a video on Twitter showing a prison bus carrying Gergerlioğlu with the comment, “The moment of release.”

The top court had ruled that Gergerlioğlu’s right to stand for election and engage in political activities as well as his right to liberty and security were violated through his imprisonment.

Despite the court’s ruling, which required Gergerlioğlu’s immediate release from prison, the former deputy had not been freed, prompting his son and some HDP officials and rights activists to launch a “justice watch” in front of Sincan Prison in Ankara on Monday where Gergerlioğlu was jailed.
Salih Gergerlioğlu was detained with four others while demanding the release of the rights advocate from prison in line with the top court ruling.
In his first tweet following his release Ömer Faruk Gergerlioğlu asked, “Where were we?” in a sign that he would continue fighting for the victims of human rights violations.

Gergerlioğlu was stripped of his status in parliament on March 17 after conviction of disseminating “terrorist” propaganda in a 2016 social media post, where he commented on a story that reported on outlawed Kurdish militants calling on the Turkish state to take a step towards peace.

A two-and-a-half-year jail sentence handed down to him on Feb. 21, 2018 was upheld by the Supreme Court of Appeals on Feb. 19, 2021, and the 55-year-old politician, who has shone a light on controversial topics including torture and prison strip-searches in Turkey’s prisons and detention centers, was taken into custody at his home on April 2 and sent to prison.

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