Turkish court halts trial of pro-Kurdish HDP deputy due to acquisition of parliamentary immunity

A Turkish high criminal court in Ankara has decided to halt the trial of Kemal Bülbül, who was elected to the Turkish Parliament in the June 24 general election from the ranks of the pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP), on the grounds that he acquired parliamentary immunity with his election, the gazeteduvar news website reported on Monday.

The ruling was made by the Ankara 15th High Criminal Court where Bülbül was standing trial on charges of fomenting enmity and hatred among the public and disseminating the propaganda of a terrorist organization. The court also removed a travel ban imposed on the HDP deputy.

However, two other jailed deputies were not as fortunate as Bülbül as they were unable to benefit from the same law that led to the halting of Bülbül’s trial.

Last week, Turkey’s Supreme Court of Appeals rejected a petition from Republican People’s Party (CHP) deputy Enis Berberoğlu, who has been behind bars for 13 months, to be released from jail because he was elected to Parliament on June 24 elections and won renewed immunity.

Berberoğlu was arrested in June 2017 immediately after he was handed down a prison sentence of 25 years for leaking information for a report on National Intelligence Organization (MİT) trucks transporting weapons to jihadists in Syria.

On July 11, a Diyarbakır court also decided to keep Leyla Güven in pre-trial detention despite the fact that she was elected to Parliament in the June 24 general election from the HDP.

Güven, the co-chairperson of the Democratic Society Congress (DTK), was detained in a police raid on her house on Jan. 22 over her critical statements about a Turkish military operation in the Afrin region of northern Syria. The politician was jailed by the Diyarbakır 9th High Criminal Court after spending nine days in police custody.

Güven faces charges of leadership of a terrorist organization and spreading the propaganda of a terrorist organization due to her participation in events, delivery of press statements and some of her speeches.

A prison sentence of up to 46 years is being sought for the Kurdish politician.

The first hearing of Güven’s trial was held on Wednesday at the Diyarbakır court, which did not rule for her release although she acquired parliamentary immunity after her election to Parliament on June 24.

On June 29 the Diyarbakır court ruled for Güven’s release, but a decision was made for her re-arrest due to an objection by the prosecutor to her release. (turkishminute.com)

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