HDP MP Gergerlioğlu arrested – dragged out of his home barefoot, hospitalized, and imprisoned

Information note by HDP Foreign Affairs Co-spokespersons Feleknas Uca and Hişyar Özsoy

As we noted in our statement on 17 March 2021, the court ruling against HDP deputy Mr Ömer Faruk Gergerlioğlu was read out at the Parliament and he was stripped of his deputyship status. Following this, Mr Gergerlioğlu started a “justice watch” together with other HDP MPs and refused to leave the parliament. He was taken into custody at the parliament early in the morning on 21 March in a totally unlawful manner. While ugly scenes of his detention were still fresh in people’s memories, Mr Gergerlioğlu was arrested on 2 April again and sent to prison – again in a manner that violated human dignity.

In the evening of 2 April 2021, police raided Gergerlioğlu’s residence and he was forcefully detained. Interestingly (!), one of the police chiefs who came to arrest him was the very person whom Gergerlioğlu unveiled as a torturer in a speech he made at the parliament in 2019. Gergerlioğlu was dragged out of his home barefoot, violently pushed and shoved by this police officer and others. A police officer insulted him in the car and threatened to punch him. Despite his complaint of chest pain and the report of the physician at his first health check after his detention, he was transferred to prison. On 3 April, hours after his detention, he was finally taken to hospital from prison, and there he underwent angiography due to high blood pressure and was put in intensive care. For hours, HDP deputies, his lawyers and family members did not know about Gergerlioğlu’s whereabouts. He was smuggled out of the hospital and transferred to Sincan F-Type Prison. Mr Gergerlioğlu was sentenced to two and a half years in prison for posting via Twitter a piece of news five years ago. The sentence was upheld by the Court of Cassation, which led him to lose his parliamentary seat, although his individual appeal to the Constitutional Court is pending. If the Constitutional Court does not overrule, Mr Gergerlioğlu will remain behind bars for one year and ten months.

In his last press meeting at HDP headquarters on 31 March, Mr Gergerlioğlu said: “I would like to say something to the Turkish people: the Kurdish problem was not created by the Kurds, but by the state’s actions. It is the other peoples and not the Kurdish people who have to solve this problem. I appeal to the entire society of Turkey. I am not Kurdish. But I lost my job because I worked for a solution to the Kurdish problem. We have to solve the problem together. It is the children of all of us who are dying. I can be thrown into prison now; many of our colleagues are already there. However, it will not solve anything.”

In the words of HDP co-chairs on the arrest of Mr Gergerlioğlu: “We will continue our stance against this understanding of the government that ignores the will of people and violates all human values. We will maintain our struggle without any compromises. Justice will prevail, truth will prevail!”