Turkish court refers imprisoned MP Atalay’s case to appeals court, defers his release

The Turkish court expected to release imprisoned Workers’ Party (TİP) MP Can Atalay referred his case to the appeals court instead. The court was supposed to finalize the Constitutional Court verdict requiring Atalay’s release.

Can Bursalı / Gazete Duvar

The Criminal Court of Istanbul did not release imprisoned Workers’ Party of Turkey (TİP) deputy Can Atalay, and referred his case to the Court of Cassation. Atalay’s release was expected since the Oct. 25 verdict by the Constitutional Court found rights violations in the case. 

The panel of judges argued that the Constitutional Court ruling about rights violations was not related to the criminal court’s verdict, thus it could not serve as a basis for Atalay’s release.

The statement reads, “The ruling that found rights violations is not about the final verdict of the criminal court, it concerns another previous rejection of Atalay’s release request. The formation of new judicial conditions requires reconsideration by the Court of Cassation.” 

The statement was made public on Oct. 30, however, it is curiously dated Oct. 13. This date precedes the Oct. 25 ruling of the Constitutional Court. The statement is signed only by presiding Judge Murat Özdemir.

Judge Murat Özdemir was also a member of the court which in 2019 refused to release former Republican People's Party (CHP) MP Enis Berberoğlu despite a Constitutional Court ruling, according to reporting by journalist İsmail Saymaz.

Atalay’s expected release following the Constitutional Court ruling was delayed for six days. On Oct. 30, TİP deputies spent the day at the courthouse demanding the decision. 

Atalay was among the seven defendants who were sentenced to 18 years in prison in the Gezi Park trial. He was convicted for “assisting to the attempted abolishment of the government." Atalay was elected as a Hatay deputy from TİP in the May 14 general elections.

(English version by Ayşenaz Toptaş)