Top court upholds prison sentence to CHP’s İstanbul Chair

CHP Provincial Chair was on her way to Istanbul when she heard about the decision. She recorded a video message on the highway and shared it on her social media account saying that “the issue is the unlawfulness that the power inflicted on us.”

The Supreme Court of Appeals upheld the prison sentence given to main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) Istanbul Provincial Chair Canan Kaftancıoğlu for her Twitter posts. CHP leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu summoned all the party’s deputies to the Istanbul provincial building.

The 3rd Penal Chamber of the Supreme Court of Appeals completed the appeal examination on the prison sentences given to Kaftancıoğlu for 5 different crimes on May 10, DW Turkish journalist Alican Uludağ reported.

Top court upheld the sentences for three crimes while overturned two, imposing political ban to CHP’s rising star in addition to a sentence of 4 years and 11 months prison.

A sentence for a poem

A lawsuit was filed against Kaftancıoğlu in 2019 due to her Twitter posts between 2012 and 2017. In the trial held in 2019, Istanbul 37th High Criminal court sentenced her to total of 9 years 8 months and 20 days in prison for “terror propaganda”, “insulting a public official, publicly insulting the president”, “openly humiliating the State of the Republic of Turkey” and “openly provoking the people to hatred and enmity”.

The reason given was the tweets she posted during the Gezi protests in 2013 and the July 15 coup attempt in 2016, where she allegedly insulted President Tayyip Erdoğan as well as “making propaganda for a terrorist organization”. The fact that she read a poem by Nazım Hikmet after the first trial was considered an aggravating circumstance. A portion of one year from this sentence concerns the poem and is “without suspension”, which means that if she is ruled guilty by the court of appeals, she will immediately go to prison.

Following the appeal meeting, the Supreme Court upheld the prison sentence of 4 years 11 months and 20 days for Kaftancıoğlu for “insulting a public official”, “publicly insulting the State of the Republic of Turkey” and “insulting the President of the Republic”.

Kaftancıoğlu: “We will continue to work”

Canan Kaftancıoğlu shared a video on her social media account after the decision. Kaftancıoğlu said that the main issue is “victimization caused by unlawfulness”.

CHP Istanbul Provincial Chairman used the following statements:

“I have been informed that the Supreme Court has made the decision. The issue here is beyond the question of what punishment was given to Canan Kaftancıoğlu or how; the point the law has come in this country and the victimization that unlawfulness inflicts on all of us. For this reason, I would like to say to my friends who call and ask, that we will continue to work in every way until the law and the rule of law are restored not only for Canan Kaftancıoğlu but also for 84 million people in this country until we send this evil in power. Now I will go to Istanbul and continue to work again. Never ever lose hope. We will send the evil in power by organizing hope. Only then will real justice and real law be established in this country.”

Call from Kılıçdaroğlu

CHP leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu called on CHP deputies from his social media account to go to Istanbul local building for solidarity. Kılıçdaroğlu said, “Lead off to our Istanbul provincial presidency building immediately.”

CHP Istanbul Metropolitan Mayor Ekrem İmamoğlu, in his message published on social media, said, “She is our companion with whom we step through the change in Istanbul. I find this decision political and I condemn it. I’m with our leader. I’m going to support you,” he said.

Kaftancıoğlu was considered one of the leading forces behind the victory of the main opposition party in 2019 local elections where the CHP has taken İstanbul from ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) and its predecessors after decades. The victory was interpreted as a major hit to the ruling party.

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