Turkey arrests former HDP deputy Ömer Faruk Gergerlioğlu

Ömer Faruk Gergerlioğlu was hospitalized and put in intensive care on April 3, hours after he was forcefully detained by police. The politician said that he was battered by security forces and that one of them threatened to punch him. He was arrested later on the same day.

Duvar English 

Former Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP) deputy Ömer Faruk Gergerlioğlu was hospitalized and put in intensive care on April 3, hours after he was forcefully detained by police at his home. 

"I was battered by security forces. One of them threatened to punch me. He insulted me," Gergerlioğlu said at the hospital. 

According to Gergerlioğlu's son Salih Gergerlioğlu, the politician underwent angiography due to high blood pressure and was put in intensive care afterwards. He also said that he was taken to the prison earlier despite the doctors' suggestion to carry out an angiography. 

Ömer Faruk Gergerlioğlu, who was stripped from his parliamentary status last month on politically motivated "terror" charges, was detained on April 2. He was battered and subjected to mistreatment by police and was prevented from putting on his shoes when leaving his home, footage showed. 

"A deputy is, unfortunately, getting arrested. This is a shame on Turkey and the government. I'm getting punished for objecting to unlawfulness. I didn't commit any crime," he said before being detained. 

"I'm still the deputy of the people," he noted. 

His lawyer Bişar Abdi Alınak shared a report documenting the battery he was subjected to under police custody.

Alınak and HDP deputies said that Turkish authorities didn't inform them of Gergerlioğlu's whereabouts and which procedures he underwent at the hospital. They were able to receive information later on. 

The former deputy was arrested on April 3 and put in Sincan Prison in the capital Ankara. 

Gergerlioğlu, a physician and longtime human rights advocate, was stripped of his parliamentary status on March 17 for sharing a news article about the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) on Twitter in 2016. He was found guilty in February 2018 of “spreading terrorism propaganda” on the basis of the social media post.

Turkey’s top appeals court upheld the conviction and sentence of two years and six months in prison on Feb. 19. On March 15, Turkish Parliament Speaker Mustafa Şentop had indicated that steps to strip Gergerlioğlu of his seat may be imminent, though Gergerlioğlu has filed a Constitutional Court challenge to the prosecution against him.

Gergerlioğlu has rejected the removal of his deputyship, saying that the Constitutional Court hasn't issued a final ruling in his case. He also noted that he received the votes of some 90,000 in the elections and that he represents their will.

In an unprecedented move, Gergerlioğlu refused to leave parliament premises after he was stripped of his status and started his resistance in the HDP's room. He spent four nights in the room.

Early on March 21, a large group of police officers entered parliament and detained Gergerlioğlu, who was in his pajamas and preparing for the morning prayers. "Not leaving parliament, acting as if he is still a deputy, making press statements on social media and staying in a public building although he has no right to" were cited as the reasons for his detention. 

"Let me pray and change my clothes. We can go afterwards," Gergerlioğlu told police officers, but his requests were rejected. He was not even allowed to put on his shoes and went to police headquarters in his slippers. He was released on the same day.

Thousands of members of the HDP, Turkey's third-largest party, have been tried as part of a years-long crackdown on the party over alleged links to the PKK.

Many prominent members of the party have been jailed, including its former co-chairs Selahattin Demirtaş and Figen Yüksekdağ. 

Last month, a top prosecutor moved to shut down the party, after months of calls from President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan's far-right ally Nationalist Movement Party (MHP). Turkey's top court sent the indictment calling for the HDP to be closed back to the prosecutor on procedural grounds this week. But it can be re-submitted after the necessary changes.

The HDP denies links to terrorism and has described the move to ban it as a "political coup."