Turkish prison officials call HDP letters to former MP “risky”

The son of former deputy Ömer Faruk Gergerlioğlu said prison officials deemed letters sent to his father to be "risky" and did not share them with him, Duvar English reported on Sunday, citing Firat News Agency. 

"The HDP (pro-Kurdish opposition party) sends news reports about my father to prison, but they are not given to my father. They say that the news reports are from risky media outlets," Salih Gergerlioğlu said in an interview with Firat.  "He can only use his right to receive news and that's a basic right.”

The younger Gergerlioğlu has been keeping the public updated about his father’s condition in Sincan Prison. Speaking to Firat, Gergerlioğlu said that his father was also suffering from rheumatism.

A former HDP lawmaker and human rights defender, Gergerlioğlu was sentenced to prison in 2018 for "making terrorism propaganda" by sharing a news article on the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) on Twitter back in 2016. The politically motivated charges led to him being stripped of his parliamentary status on March 17 despite the lack of a final ruling from the Constitutional Court. He was detained on April 2 following a medical procedure.

Gergerlioğlu’s arrest took place at a time of escalating pressure from the ruling government on the country’s second largest opposition party. 

On March 17, Turkey’s top prosecutor of the Court of Cassation submitted to the Constitutional Court an indictment for the closure of the HDP, accusing the second largest opposition bloc in the country of links to the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), an armed group that has been at war for Kurdish self-rule in Turkey for almost 40 years.

However, the Turkish Constitutional Court rejected the indictment on March 30, citing legal technicalities in the original document. The court called for deficiencies in the indictment to be addressed within a certain time frame and ordered it be sent to the HDP to provide their defence.


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