IPU welcomes the release of Turkish MP Engin Alan
IPU has welcomed the release of Turkish MP Engin Alan following a Constitutional Court ruling that his rights and those of other convicted suspects in the “Balyoz” (Sledgehammer) coup plot case were violated.
IPU expects Alan to be sworn into parliament promptly so that he can fulfill the rest of his parliamentary mandate.
Convicted and sentenced to an 18-year prison sentence in September 2012, Alan was the last of eight MPs to remain behind bars. He had been elected to the Turkish parliament in June 2011 whilst in prison.
Several hundred people had been convicted of taking part in an alleged military coup plot known as the “Sledgehammer” case that dates back to 2003. The Constitutional Court ruling on 18 June stated that the rights of the convicted had been violated during the judicial process. The decision paves the way for a retrial of the defendants.
The other seven MPs had been granted provisional release following another Constitutional Court ruling late last year. It had ruled that the length of their detentions for allegedly plotting to overthrow the government or for alleged links to the banned Kurdish Workers Party (PKK) amounted to a violation of their right to stand for election.
They were sworn into parliament in January. However, they are still either facing trial or awaiting the outcome of pending appeals after having been handed down lengthy jail sentences in the KCK and Ergenekon cases. IPU hopes that the Sledgehammer ruling will also ensure full respect for fair trial guarantees in all these cases.
IPU’s Committee on the Human Rights of Parliamentarians has been working on eight MPs cases. The Organization has raised concerns at the lack of respect of the MPs’ right to a fair trial, the excessive length of proceedings and pre-trial detention as well as alleged violations of their right to freedom of expression.
In February this year, a delegation from its Committee conducted an on-site mission to Turkey to gather first-hand information on the precise charges and assess the prospects for finding a resolution to the MPs’ cases. A full report will be made to the IPU membership in October.