İstanbul MP of the Republican People's Party (CHP) Enis Berberoğlu has been released from prison after the verdict of release issued by the Supreme Court of Appeals yesterday (September 20).
Berberoğlu, who had been behind bars since June 14, 2017, answered the questions of journalists in front of Maltepe Prison and stated:
"I entered the Maltepe Prison as an MP of the CHP and I am leaving it again as an MP of the CHP. The 16-month period which I have gone through is a period, on which one needs to think and Turkey needs to decide.
"Please pardon me, let me consult my family and my party for a few days and understand how I will proceed further. My former colleagues, I would like to thank you for your interest. I am aware that the media has never left me alone in Maltepe Prison."
To the insistent question of journalists, "What would you like to say", Berberoğlu answered, "I have already said it (Laughs). Friends, I have been living in isolation for 16 months. Therefore, I have got used to speaking little. You should also get used to it."
At around 5.40 p.m. yesterday, the 16th Penal Chamber of the Supreme Court of Appeals upheld the verdict of arrest of 5 years and 10 months which was previously issued for Berberoğlu on charge of "disclosing confidential information of the state", ruling that he shall be released from prison and the execution of the verdict shall be halted until the end of his deputyship.
The verdict of release was issued on the ground of his legislative immunity.
At the lawsuit filed at İstanbul 14th Heavy Penal Court regarding the "MİT Lorries" news report published on Cumhuriyet newspaper on June 14, 2017, Enis Berberoğlu was sentenced to 25 years in prison on charge of "disclosing confidential information of the state for purposes of political and military espionage." Enis Berberoğlu was arrested on June 14, 2017.
The ruling of the court was reversed by the 2nd Penal Chamber of the İstanbul Regional Court of Justice on October 9, 2017. In the ruling, it was stated, "in case it is agreed that the secret has been disclosed before, elements of the crime of 'disclosing confidential information of the state for political and military espionage purposes' cannot arise."
The İstanbul 14th Heavy Penal Court ruled that the verdict of reversal issued by the Court of Appeals was against the legal procedure and law and returned the file.
On February 13, 2018, the Court of Appeals reevaluated the case file of Enis Berberoğlu and ruled that he shall be sentenced to 5 years and 10 months in prison, this time, not on charge of "espionage", but on charge of "disclosing information of the state that has to remain confidential for the security of the state as well as internal and external benefits." The court also ruled for the continuation of his arrest.
This verdict was then appealed by the Chief Public Prosecutor's Office of the İstanbul Regional Court of Justice, which sent a petition to the Supreme Court of Appeals, requesting that Berberoğlu be convicted on "espionage" charges.
After Berberoğlu was elected as the İstanbul MP of the CHP on June 24, 2018, he applied to the Supreme Court of Appeals, requesting that the proceedings against him be abated on the ground of his recently acquired legislative impunity. His request was rejected. (AS/SD)
* Photograph: Serhat Çağdaş - İstanbul / Anadolu Agency
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