Pro-Kurdish lawmaker released after detention in Turkish parliament

(This article has been updated from the first paragraph.)

Pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) lawmaker Ömer Faruk Gergerlioğlu has been released, after his statement was taken by police forces, following his detention in Turkish parliament on Sunday morning.

Gergerlioğlu announced his release via his social media.

Stripped of his parliamentary status on Wednesday and refused to leave the Grand National Assembly in protest, Gergerlioğlu was detained on early Sunday, while in his pyjamas.

Gergerlioğlu was detained during his morning prayer in parliament’s restroom.

Turkish parliament on Wednesday stripped Gergerlioğlu of his parliamentary status, weeks after Court of Cassation approved a prison sentence issued to the human rights activist and medical doctor on charges of terrorist propaganda.

Gergerlioğlu said he would resist and remain in the building until the Constitutional Court ruled on his appeal against his recent conviction and since then did not leave the parliament.

An investigation initiated against Gergerlioğlu for undertaking public office irregularly, violation of housing immunity and making terrorist organization propaganda, Diken news website reported, after it was determined that, despite stripping off his parliamentary status, he remained unlawfully in the public building, still behaving as a deputy and making press releases on social media.

HDP announced Gergerlioğlu’s detention via social media on Sunday.

Hüseyin Kaçmaz, another HDP deputy explained in a video how Gergerlioğlu was arrested. 

"We saw these, back in the 90s," Gergerlioğlu reacted his detention in the parliament as saying.

In 1994, political immunities of the pro-Kurdish Democracy Party (DEP) MPs Orhan Doğan, Leyla Zana, Selim Sadak and Hatip Dicle were lifted and were detained in the parliament building and prisoned for 15 years on charges of separatism.

Turkish Court of Cassation overturned their conviction in 2004 and former DEP deputies were released from prison.

“What was required in terms of law, has been done,” the speaker of the Turkish Grand National Assembly, Mustafa Şentop said in a written statement, following Gergerlioğlu’s detention.

“Nobody can turn Turkish Grand National Assembly, the representative authority of our nation into a stage for illegal propaganda,” Şentop said, state-run Anadolu news agency reported on Sunday.