Turkey's Constitutional Court on Thursday once again ruled that the main opposition Republican People's Party's (CHP) former deputy, Enis Berberoğlu, who was convicted for his role in leaking secret documents, had his rights violated by lower courts.
In September, the Constitutional Court’s General Assembly ruled that Berberoğlu's rights were breached, including his right to stand for elections and engage in political activities and his right to freedom and security.
In that original appeal, it was noted that the “right to stand for elections and engage in political activities and the person’s right to freedom and security and the right to question the witness, since the alleged witness was not ready at the hearing, was violated because of the continuation of the trial and the detention of a deputy who regained his right of privacy.”
Following the first ruling, Berberoğlu attempted to reverse the verdict of the lower court, at Istanbul 14th Heavy Penal Court, in accordance with the Constitutional Court’s decision. The local court’s stance on the issue, however, remained the same, leading Berberoğlu to apply to the Constitutional Court a second time, from which it again ruled the former deputy’s rights had been breached.
The Turkish constitution’s 67th article ensures the right to elect and be elected and its 19th article ensures personal freedom and security. The top court stated that both were violated in Berberoğlu’s case.
It is reported that the decision was unanimous and the justification, to be written later, will highlight that the rule is binding for all courts. The top court’s general assembly sent a sample of the ruling to Istanbul’s 14th Heavy Penal Court in order for the outcomes of the violations to be eliminated.
Berberoğlu was stripped of deputyship in June 2020. In 2018, a Turkish court ruled to release Berberoğlu after having sentenced him to five years and 10 months for his role in leaking secret documents about National Intelligence Organization (MIT) trucks.
Berberoğlu was accused of supplying confidential information regarding the country's intelligence service to two journalists, Can Dündar and Erdem Gül, who have both been charged with willfully aiding a terrorist group without being a member.
The CHP deputy was found guilty of disclosing secret state documents by the second Penal Department of the Istanbul Regional Court of Justice.
Istanbul's 14th Heavy Penal Court initially sentenced Berberoğlu to 25 years in prison, but his case was later transferred to the Istanbul Regional Court of Justice.
In January 2014, trucks belonging to MIT carrying aid to northern Syria, where Turkmens had been exposed to heavy airstrikes and attacks from the Bashar Assad regime, were intercepted by security forces on orders of former Adana Public Prosecutor Özcan Şişman and Brig. Gen. Hamza Celepoğlu.
The supplies in the trucks were seized and MIT agents were handcuffed before being detained. The case stunned the nation, as it was the first time that the military explicitly intervened in the affairs of the intelligence agency. The operation was conducted hurriedly, and the governor of the province was informed about the incident in its latest phase.
It was later revealed that the raid was a plot by the Gülenist Terror Group (FETÖ) to embarrass and discredit the government via its followers who had infiltrated the military and judiciary.