Local court finally abides by top court ruling in Enis Berberoğlu case

A local court has finally abided by a Turkish Constitutional Court ruling in the case into former CHP deputy Enis Berberoğlu. The former lawmaker will be retried upon the decision of the Istanbul 14th Heavy Penal Court.

Former CHP deputy Enis Berberoğlu.

Duvar English 

The Istanbul 14th Heavy Penal Court has finally abided by a Turkish Constitutional Court ruling regarding former main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP) deputy Enis Berberoğlu. 

The former lawmaker will be retried in line with the Istanbul court's decision, which has previously refused to abide by the top court ruling. 

The Constitutional Court last week sent the second rights violation ruling it issued in the Berberoğlu case to parliament and the Council of Judges and Prosecutors (HGK) with an emphasis on protecting the constitutional order.

"Not implementing the rulings of the Constitutional Court over whatever reason means the heavy violation of the principle of the superiority of law and the constitutional order that's based on this principle," the court said. 

The Constitutional Court on Jan. 21 ruled that Berberoğlu's right to participate in politics and to personal freedom and security were violated, in second such ruling in his case.

The ruling, which was adopted unanimously, was sent to the Istanbul 14th Heavy Penal Court for a retrial and the removal of the rights violations. The court stressed that its rulings are binding when sending it to the lower court.

Berberoğlu on Oct. 26, 2020 applied to the Constitutional Court following two local courts' refusal to implement the top court's ruling in his case. Both Istanbul's 15th High Criminal Court and 14th High Criminal Court rejected Berberoğlu's appeal and ignored the Constitutional Court's Sept. 17-dated ruling that the former deputy’s rights were violated.

The Constitutional Court on Oct. 9 published a detailed ruling on the application of Berberoğlu, saying that the politician’s rights had been violated since legal proceedings against him should have been suspended due to his re-election as a member of parliament on June 24, 2018.

The top court at the time said that it is against the law for the trial process to continue against a lawmaker unless the parliament lifts his immunity again. Berberoğlu had his immunity lifted for the parliamentary term of 2015-2018, but his re-election in the June 24, 2018 elections renewed his immunity.

Berberoğlu was sentenced to five years and 10 months in jail in the case into a story on National Intelligence Agency (MİT) trucks filled with weapons bound for Syria. He was accused of providing footage of the trucks to journalist Can Dündar and was sent to prison in 2017.

He was re-elected to the parliament in the June 24, 2018 elections but was not released from jail until Sept. 20, 2018, when the Court of Cassation postponed the execution of the sentence due to his re-election as a lawmaker.

On June 4, 2020 parliament stripped Berberoğlu of his deputyship, along with two other lawmakers from the Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP). After this move, Berberoğlu was arrested again to serve the remaining of his sentence. But on the same day, Berberoğlu was transferred from open prison to house arrest as part of measures against COVID-19.

Turkish Justice Minister Abdulhamit Gül said on Jan. 22 that the top court's rulings are “binding."

“These rulings can be criticized but this does not mean that they will not be implemented. Rulings are there to be applied. In the state of law, rules and decrees ordered by the law are valid. This is what needs to happen within the framework of the Constitutional Court's decisions,” Gül told reporters.