HDP lawmaker Gergerlioglu released from prison

Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) lawmaker Omer Gergerlioglu and the other lawmakers from his party hold a protest after the Turkish Parliament stripped him of his MP status during a session at the parliament in Ankara, Turkey March 17, 2021. (Reuters)

SULAIMANI (ESTA) — Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) lawmaker Omer Faruk Gergerlioglu was released from jail on Tuesday, the party said, after Turkey’s top court ruled that his rights had been violated.

“Our struggle for justice has paid off,” the HDP said in a tweet. “After the Constitutional Court decision, our deputy Omer Faruk Gergerlioglu was released.”

Gergerlioglu, an HDP member, had his parliamentary status removed in March and was jailed in April after a 2-1/2 year jail sentence for spreading terrorist propaganda became final.

The charges were related to a link he shared on Twitter to a news story that included comments by the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK). Gergerlioglu denies any wrongdoing.

Turkey’s Constitutional Court ruled on Wednesday that Gergerlioglu’s right to be elected and engage in political activity as well as his right to personal freedom and security had been violated.

Thousands of members of the HDP, Turkey’s third-largest party, have been tried as part of a years-long crackdown on the party over alleged links to the PKK.

Many prominent members of the party have been jailed, including its former co-leader Selahattin Demirtas, one of Turkey’s most well-known politicians.

Last month, the Constitutional Court accepted an indictment calling for the HDP to be banned due to alleged ties to the PKK.

The HDP denies links to terrorism and has described the move to proscribe it as a “political coup”.

The PKK is designated a terrorist group by Turkey, the United States and European Union. It has fought an insurgency against the state in mainly Kurdish southeast Turkey since 1984. More than 40,000 people have been killed in the conflict.

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