Weekly Report: The Persecution On Turkish Lawyers (11-17 September)

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12/09/2017 – 18 Lawyers were taken into custody in Istanbul, Ankara and Diyarbakir within scope of Istanbul-based police operation.

Lawyers Didem Ünsal, Aytaç Ünsal, Ahmet Mandacı, Yağmur Ereren, Barkın Timtik, Ebru Timtik, Şükriye Erden, Engin Gökoğlu, Ezgi Çakır, Süleyman Gökten, Ozgur Yılmaz, Oya Aslan, Ayşegül Çağatay, Behiç Aşçı, Aycan Çiçek, Günay Dağ, Zehra Özdemir, Özgür Yılmaz who are the members of People’s Law Office (Halkın Hukuk Bürosu) and Umut Law Office were taken into custody with police raid on 12/9/2017.

The 18 lawyers taken into custody have been representing the arrested hunger strike activists Nuriye Gulmen and Semih Ozakca. Gulmen and Ozakca who were arrested on 23rd May 2017. The 18 lawyers taken into custody could not represent them on the hearing dated 14th September 2017.

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The CCBE-Council of Bars and Law Societies of Europe wrote a letter of concern to President Erdogan regarding the 18 lawyers taken into custody.

The 18 lawyers are still under police custody in Istanbul. For more details.

15/09/2017 – Celal Celik who is lawyer of main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) leader Kemal Kilicdaroglu, was taken into custody

Turkish police on 15th September 2017 took the lawyer to the country’s main opposition into custody with charge of being member of armed terrorist organisation. Celal Celik, a lawyer for the secular main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) leader Kemal Kilicdaroglu, was taken into custody in Ankara after a police raid at his home.

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Lawyer Mr. Celik who is a former judge and member of Yarsav, resigned from judgeship in 2011 to protest AKP-Gulenist coalition in judiciary. Now, He was detained within scope of investigation against Gulen Movement.

Kilicdaroglu told reporters the detention was “a disgrace in the name of democracy”, adding the situation was “an abdication of reason”.

According to his biography on the party’s official website, Celik is a former judge and member of YARSAV (YARSAV-Judges and Prosecutors Association was shut down with emergency decree) now also works as a member of the party’s High Disciplinary Committee (YDK).

The detention comes after accusations Celik cancelled his subscription with satellite TV provider Digiturk after it removed Gulen-linked television channels Bugun and Samanyolu.

Celik was  taken to Istanbul as the investigation is conducted by the Istanbul chief public prosecutor.

The Judges for Judges – Netherland based international judges association- reacted Celik’s detention.

ANTALYA – 3 Lawyers were taken into custody

3 lawyers were taken into custody in Antalya. Lawyers ÖB, MAK, MB who are members of the Antalya Bar Association, were taken into custody and still are being kept in Antalya Police HQ.

In Antalya, 40 lawyers were taken into custody and 16 of them were arrested since 15/07/2016. So far, 23 lawyers whose 9 are under arrest for more than a year, were indicted with being member of armed terrorist organisation, prosecutor sought up to 15 years imprisonment for them. Investigation for the remaining 17 lawyers still goes on.

 

Situation in Turkey

As of 17th September 2017, 524 lawyers have been arrested (since 15th July 2016) and 1347 lawyers are under prosecution. Some of the arrested lawyers were subjected torture and ill-treatment.

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. 

14 of detained or arrested lawyers are the presidents or former presidents of provincial bars associations.

So far; 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 and Eskisehir 2nd High Penal Court sentenced 11 lawyers to range 4 to 12 years imprisonment.

All persecuted lawyers are being charged with terror linked offences such as being member of armed terrorist organisation or to run armed terrorist organisation. Pursuant to 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, nine 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 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.

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.

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