Justice Commission endorses government-backed bill on MİT staff

Justice Commission endorses government-backed bill on MİT staff

The parliamentary Justice Commission convened on Feb. 14 to discuss a government-sponsored draft law, according to which specially authorized prosecutors would require special permission from the prime minister when taking legal action against National Intelligence Organization (MİT) officials. (Photo: AA)

February 15, 2012, Wednesday/ 10:17:00

The parliamentary Justice Commission late on Tuesday approved a government-sponsored bill that requires specially authorized prosecutors to receive special permission from the prime minister when taking legal action against or questioning National Intelligence Organization (MİT) officials, despite strong criticism from the opposition.

The bill, drafted by ruling Justice and Development Party (AK Party) Isparta deputy Recep Özel, aims to amend Article 26 of the law on MİT personnel. The Justice Commission endorsed the bill on Tuesday night and added an additional ad hoc article, allowing incumbent MİT undersecretary Hakan Fidan to benefit from the law. The article states that the law will be applicable to ongoing investigations that were launched before the bill was adopted.

The proposed law was presented to Parliament by the AK Party last week following a dispute that emerged after a specially authorized prosecutor summoned Fidan and four others to testify as part of a probe into the Kurdish Communities Union (KCK), a group which prosecutors say controls the outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) and other affiliated groups.

If the proposed law is passed, an investigation into MİT officials on charges of crimes that are heard by specially authorized courts can be launched only after written permission is obtained from the prime minister. Opposition parties and some others are against the proposed bill on the grounds that it is designed for the benefit of certain people and hence runs contrary to the rule of law.

Speaking at his party's parliamentary group meeting on Tuesday, Republican People's Party (CHP) leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu criticized the government for its proposed bill, describing it as a “foolish” proposal.

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