Detention warrant was issued for 8 lawyers by Mersin Prosecutorial Office yesterday. Lawyers Ali Bozan, Sebahat Genc, Bedri Kuran, Mehmet Altuntaş, Rıza Oğuz, Özgür Çağlar, Erhan Çiftçiler, Emrullah Şam and Onur Kale who are the members of Mersin and Van Bar Association are the subjects of detention warrant. So far, 4 lawyers were detained by police and 4 lawyers are still wanted. Thus, number of lawyers subjected criminal prosecution since 15th July 2016 raised to 1398.
Police executed search warrant in offices and homes of the lawyers.
The eight lawyers are the executives or members of the Human Rights Association and the Progressive Lawyers Association. The Progressive Lawyers Association was shut down with decree by Erdogan Regime on the November of 2016.
Situation in Turkey
14 of detained or arrested lawyers are the presidents or former presidents of provincial bars associations.
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.
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, Eskisehir 2nd High Penal Court sentenced 11 lawyers to range 4 to 12 years. Also Sivas 2nd High Penal Court and Adana 11th High Penal Court sentenced lawyers to ranging from 3 to 9 years imprisonment with charge on being member of armed terrorist organisation.
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.