Prominent human rights defender Ömer Faruk Gergerlioğlu, who is also a lawmaker from the Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP), has appealed the politically motivated conviction against him at the Constitutional Court, Mezopotamya news agency reported on March 5.
Gergerlioğlu said in his application that the Court of Cassation's recent decision against him violates his right to freedom of expression and right to conduct politics.
On Feb. 19, the Court of Cassation upheld a two-year and six-month prison sentence issued by a local court to Gergerlioğlu.
The prominent human rights defender has been convicted for sharing on Twitter a link to a news article published in online news portal T24.
The court found him guilty for "disseminating terrorism propaganda” over his social media post which called for peace between the Turkish military and the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK).
The petition filed to the Constitution by Gergerlioğlu's lawyer said: “He has released his opinion and thought about a political issue that closely concerns the Turkish public and reiterated his call for peace. The applicant's action has a quality of using freedom of expression in political issues.”
The petition said that the government had made Gergerlioğlu a “target” as he has been increasing awareness with regards to rights violations in the country, such as strip searches of female detainees across jails.
“It is clear that the approval of the applicant's jail sentence in this environment, in which all principles of law are ignored, carries a political purpose,” the petition said.
It said that the recent several judicial proceedings targeting HDP lawmakers which aim to have their immunities lifted also show that the ruling on Gergerlioğlu is a “political” one.
In December, Gergerlioğlu brought reports of strip searches of female detainees across, increasing awareness about rights violations in Turkish jails. Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu at the time accused Gergerlioğlu of being a “terrorist,” an allegation widely used by the Turkish authorities to criminalize democratic opposition and government critics.
Gergerlioğlu has been also defending the rights of people who have been dismissed from their jobs by government decrees in the aftermath of the July 2016 coup attempt, which makes him the target of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP).