Turkey’s main opposition CHP’s jailed deputy Berberoğlu quits medication in protest

CHP deputy Enis Berberoğlu

Enis Berberoğlu, a jailed deputy from Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP), has refused to take medication he has been prescribed in protest of his imprisonment, a senior party official said, adding that the party was planning a new campaign for Berberoğlu’s release.

“Everyone will see we will not remain silent about Berberoğlu, and we will not let justice in Turkey be politicized,” Gürsel Tekin, CHP deputy leader, said according to a report by Deutche Welle Turkish service on Wednesday.

Tekin said Berberoğlu, who has high blood pressure, has been refusing to take his medication in protest. “Our concern for his health has been increasing,” Tekin said.

Berberoğlu was arrested in 2017 after being sentenced to 25 years in prison on espionage charges for allegedly giving the Cumhuriyet daily a video purporting to show National Intelligence Organisation (MİT) trucks carrying weapons to radical Islamist groups in Syria. He was a CHP lawmaker, and his immunity was revoked in 2016.

Following an appeal and re-trial, an İstanbul court  sentenced him to five years, 10 months in February for allegedly “disclosing government secrets.” He denies the charges.

After he was re-elected as a deputy from İstanbul in the June 24 elections, the CHP appealed to the Supreme Court of Appeals, demanding the prosecution of his sentence to be suspended until he is stripped of his lawmaker status. The top court rejected the appeal on July 20.

Berberoğlu previously announced he would cut off all communication with his immediate family and lawyers, stating that the top court had “trampled” his constitutional rights.

The CHP has appealed to a higher court of appeals, and Tekin said the main opposition “expects there will be a decision for his release.”

“If not, we will go to the Constitutional Court. We are 100 percent sure there will be a decision to release him there,” Tekin said. He added that if there are no positive rulings from the top courts, then the CHP “will exercise all of its democratic rights to protest.”

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