Today, Thursday, a Turkish court begins prosecuting Akram Imamoglu, the mayor of Greater Istanbul who belongs to the “Republican People’s Party”, which is the main opposition party in the country, on charges of corruption, according to a report issued by the Ministry of Interior. Does this mean that Imamoglu will be behind bars? almost? Especially since he faces other charges and judicial complaints.
In this context, a Turkish lawyer defending the mayor of Istanbul revealed that “today’s trial session is the first regarding allegations of corruption related to a tender dating back years, and therefore it is unlikely that the court will decide or take a decision on the accusations against my client, which date back to his presidency of the municipality of Beylikduzu, located in suburbs of Istanbul.
Serjan Polat, Imamoglu’s lawyer, told Al-Arabiya.net that “this case against my client was filed without any legal basis,” adding that “the case was pending and the investigation was closed in the past, based on the justification that Imamoglu was not responsible for the tenders that were submitted.” Its documents do not bear his signature at all, as he did not interfere with it and did not issue any instructions in this regard.
He also added, “The Public Prosecution obtained approval from the Ministry of the Interior to start new investigations against my client regarding tenders during a previous period of his work, and as a result it annulled the decision of the State Council that acquitted him and rejected the objections we submitted, and for this reason the trial of Imamoglu will continue, which may end in his removal from office.” As mayor of Istanbul, upon completion of all legal procedures, including the stage of appealing the verdict issued against him.
He stressed that “the time course for this trial will be long, and I believe that Imamoglu’s trial will continue, at least, for a year and a half to two years.”
6 other defendants
In addition to Imamoglu, 6 other defendants are represented in the same case regarding allegations of corruption related to tenders, as a result of which the current mayor of Istanbul is accused of squandering public money years ago.
The seven defendants are likely to face prison sentences ranging from 3 to 7 years if convicted.
Imamoglu’s lawyer denies all the charges against his client, which may mean preventing him from engaging in any political activity in the event that the appeals courts reject the appeals he had previously filed, which need more than a year to decide on them.
“a political issue”
And the advisor to the mayor of Istanbul, Murat Ongun, who also occupies the position of spokesperson for Imamoglu, considered yesterday, Wednesday, in statements reported by Turkish media, that the trial of the mayor of Istanbul is a political issue, especially as it comes about 9 months before the date of the next local elections that Turkey will witness.
A Turkish court had ruled in mid-December of last year, imprisoning the mayor of Istanbul for a period of two years and 7 and a half months, in addition to preventing him from engaging in any political activity for five years under the pretext of insulting government officials, but the appeal submitted by his lawyers prevented the implementation of that ruling. .
Imamoglu’s political star rose in March of the year 2019, when he twice overthrew Ben Ali Yildirim, the candidate of the ruling Justice and Development Party, in the Istanbul municipal elections, which were repeated in June of the same year, after annulling the result of his victory for the first time.
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