Turkish parliament moves for release of imprisoned MP

Photo: Turkish parliament moves for release of imprisoned MP / Turkey

Turkey's Parliament Speaker Cemil Cicek announced a draft law Wednesday that would enable an opposition lawmaker to be released from prison and complete his tenure in the parliament Anadolu Agency reported.

The proposed legislation would postpone the remainder of Nationalist Movement Party lawmaker Engin Alan's prison sentence until June 2015.

Cicek said Alan's situation was "unfair and skewed," for which he held several articles in the constitution responsible.

In 2011, the retired army general was found guilty in the Ergenekon conspiracy, an alleged plot to topple the ruling AK Party, and sentenced to 18 years in prison along with other military officers and bureaucrats.

Alan's sentence was upheld by the Supreme Court of Appeals in 2013. He had been elected to the parliament in the 2011 general election, while his trial was ongoing.

Cicek added that Alan was one of several people whom political parties nominated as deputy candidates so as to end their detentions because they would have parliamentary immunity as MPs.

Eight deputies were released in this manner, he said, but the upholding of Alan's conviction separated him from the group along with another Turkish lawmaker, Sebahat Tuncel, who is currently free and active in parliament until the end of her tenure.

"There are two convicted deputies. One is Sebahat Tuncel, who continues to exercise her executive functions. The other is Engin Alan, who is in jail. This is a very unfair and distorted situation," Cicek continued.

He said several articles in the constitution, including one that limits parliamentary immunity, make it impossible for Alan to be released based on his election as MP.

"All of us are saying, 'The national will is being held captive, this cannot be.' But I have been trying to draw attention to one thing: As long as these wrong articles in the constitution remain, there is no way of solving this situation through media statements."

Cicek has referred the draft law to the parliamentary groups of the political parties for consultation. Provided the draft law is ratified by the parliament, Alan will be able to assume his responsibilities as an MP.

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