Turkey witnessed a shocking coup attempt in July of 2016. But the legal profession was equally appalled by the ruthless targeting of lawyers by the Turkish government in the wake of the failed coup. In the morning of the failed coup attempt (16th of July), 189 Turkey lawyers were banned from acting in criminal investigations concerning the failed coup. Only 5 days later on 21st of July the government started mass arrests of lawyers.
There has been a relentless campaign of arrests which has targeted fellow lawyers across the country. In 77 of Turkey’s 81 provinces, lawyers have been detained and arrested on trumped-up charges as part of criminal investigations orchestrated by the political authorities and conducted by provincial public prosecutors. As of today, 555 lawyers have been arrested and 1415 lawyers are under prosecution, 62 lawyers were sentenced to long imprisonment. Some of the arrested lawyers were subjected torture and ill-treatment.
14 of detained or arrested lawyers are the presidents or former presidents of provincial bars associations.
- Konya 6th High Penal Court sentenced Fevzi Kayacan who is former president of Konya Bar Association and 19 other lawyer range to 1 and 11 years,
- Erzincan 2nd High Penal Court sentenced lawyers Cemalettin Ozer and Talip Nayir who are (respectively) former president of Erzincan Bar Association and former board member of association 8 years 9 month and 10 years,
- Erzurum 2nd High Penal Court sentenced Mehmet Güzel who is former president of Erzurum Bar Association and four other lawyer range to 1 and 13 years,
- Eskisehir 2nd High Penal Court sentenced 11 lawyers to range 4 to 12 years,
- Sivas 2nd High Penal Court sentenced nine lawyers to ranging from 3 to 9 years imprisonment,
- Adana 11th High Penal Court sentenced five lawyers to ranging from 3 to 9 years imprisonment,
- In addition to those; Kocaeli, Niğde, Kırşehir High Penal Courts sentenced fellow Turkish lawyers to long imprisonments.
All persecuted lawyers are being charged with terror-linked offenses such as to be the member of the armed terrorist organisation or to run an armed terrorist organisation. Under the Turkish Penal Code, these two offences require 7,5 to 22,5 years imprisonment.
In addition to these lawyers, at least 149 public (gov’t) attorneys & legal advisers, 108 law schools academics were dismissed with emergency decrees, most of them were also detained or arrested. As the most recent ring of Erdogan’s persecution chain, ten respected human rights defenders including the chair and director of Amnesty International Turkey Branch were arrested.
The Turkish government has also targeted Turkish lawyers’ right to free association. 34 different lawyers’ societies or associations have been shut down since the declaration of the state of emergency. Following their closing down by a government decree, all their assets have also been confiscated without compensation.
Also, 5218 judges and prosecutors were dismissed and they were subsequently arrested. There are still 2600 judges and public prosecutors in prison with nearly 680 of them in solitary confinement. (For our all reports go to https://arrestedlawyers.org/category/reports/)
According to The World Justice Project’s annual report entitled “Rule of Law Index 2016″, Turkey is on 99th rank amongst 113 countries. Turkey is on 105th rank in terms of “fundamental rights” and on 108th rank in terms of “constraints on government powers” amongst 113 countries.
updated on 2nd November 2017.
For French version : https://arrestedlawyers.org/2017/09/05/situation-en-turquie/
Categories: Situation in Turkey