Constitutional Court Rejects Lawmaker’s Demand for Release

In 2014, Constitutional Court ruled that rights of Gulser Yildirim, a lawmaker from pro-Kurdish People’s Democracy Party (HDP), for a fair trial were violated when she was imprisoned. She was released after ruling by Turkey’s highest court.

In 2017, Ms. Yildirim, along with a dozen of other HDP lawmakers, again found herself in jail after a government crackdown against major Kurdish political party. She appealed her case by applying to Constitutional Court.

This time the court ruled differently. In apparent contradiction with its 2014 decision, the court said there is no violation of the right to fair trial and rejected her release request. What jarred many is the reason presented by the court for its decision.

“First of all, there is no constitutional rule that the members of Parliament cannot be arrested in cases when there is an exception to the legislative immunity is imposed or when this immunity is lifted. There is also no constitutional rule that lawmakers cannot be arrested,” the court said in its decision.

In 2014 ruling, however, the court then said: “What matters is the fact that will of the people should not be inhibited. Parliament is the workplace of lawmakers who were granted to make decisions on behalf of people in free elections.”

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