Turkey’s top court to address lower court noncompliance in case of jailed MP

Lawmaker Can Atalay

The Constitutional Court of Turkey has decided to review an application lodged due to the Supreme Court of Appeals’ refusal to comply with one of its previous rulings that found rights violations in the continued imprisonment of opposition lawmaker Can Atalay, the T24 news website reported on Thursday.

The court is scheduled to consider the petition on December 13, the report said.

Atalay is serving an 18-year sentence due to his alleged involvement in the nationwide Gezi Park protests of 2013, which the Turkish authorities claim was an attempt to overthrow the government.

He was denied release despite acquiring parliamentary immunity after winning a seat in the legislature in May.

In October the top court announced its ruling in Atalay’s case and said Turkey violated Article 67 of the constitution, which concerns the right to elect, stand for election and engage in political activities, as well as Article 19, involving the right to liberty and security.

However, a high criminal court in İstanbul and subsequently the Supreme Court of Appeals refused to implement the ruling, causing widespread controversy. Furthermore, the appeals court filed criminal complaints against the Constitutional Court justices who voted in Atalay’s favor.

The 2013 Gezi Park protests erupted over government plans to demolish Gezi Park in Taksim. They quickly turned into mass anti-government demonstrations that were violently suppressed by the government, leading to the death of 11 protestors due to the use of disproportionate force by the police.

Turkey was ranked 117th among 142 countries in the rule of law index published by the World Justice Project (WJP) in October, dropping one rank in comparison to last year.

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