Canan Kaftancioglu acknowledges supporters outside the headquarters of the Republican People’s Party in Istanbul. (AFP)
Tens of thousands of people rallied in Istanbul on May 21 to express their support after the court handed down its sentence
ISTANBUL: A senior member of Turkey’s main opposition party was freed Tuesday on the same day she was jailed following a conviction for having insulted President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and other public officials.
The sentence against Canan Kaftancioglu, who leads the Republican People’s Party (CHP) in Istanbul, also bans her from running in next year’s legislative and presidential elections.
On May 12, the Supreme Court of Appeals confirmed Kaftancioglu’s conviction on three counts including over an anti-Erdogan tweet.
Although her sentence was for four years, 11 months and 20 days, party officials earlier told AFP she would be freed at any time as can happen for sentences shorter than five years.
Tens of thousands of people rallied in Istanbul on May 21 to express their support after the court handed down its sentence.
Kaftancioglu, a doctor by profession, played a key role in the surprise victory of the CHP’s Istanbul mayoral candidate Ekrem Imamoglu in 2019 — the first time Erdogan’s party had lost power in Turkey’s biggest city for 25 years.
Imamoglu himself will appear in court on Wednesday on charges of insulting public officials. If convicted, he faces up to four years in jail.
Kaftancioglu will attend the hearing, her office said.
Political opponents have accused Erdogan’s government of putting pressure on the opposition ahead of next year’s vote.