Persecution of Turkish Lawyers | April 2018

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25 April | Istanbul|Lawyers Akın Atalay, Mustafa Kemal Gungor, and Bulent Utku were convicted of terrorism charges

Lawyers Akın Atalay and Mustafa Kemal Gungor, Bulent Utku who were chair and board members, and also lawyers of the Cumhuriyet Foundation and its enterprise Cumhuriyet daily were convicted of terrorism charges by Istanbul 27th High Assize Court.

At the end of the 18-month trial against journalists and executives of Cumhuriyet Foundation and its enterprise Cumhuriyet daily, 17 of 20 defendants including three lawyers were convicted of terrorism charges.

Akın Atalay who was chair of the Cumhuriyet Foundation, and also lawyer of Cumhuriyet daily and its several journalists was sentenced to seven years and three months.

Lawyers Mustafa Kemal Gungor and Bulent Utku were sentenced respectively three years and nine months, two years in prison.

 

25 April | Istanbul|Lawyer and Fox TV Anchor were sentenced to jail term.

Istanbul-Bakırkoy 17th Penal Court sentenced  lawyer Fidel Okan and journalist Ismail Kucukkaya 16 monts and 20 days in prison with the charge of humiliating the public servant. The two were on trial because of alleging that Turkish Minister of Family and Social Policy Fatma Betül Sayan Kaya’s husband İlyas Kaya used the controversial mobile phone messaging application called Bylock.

23 April | Kayseri|Two lawyers were sentenced to jail term.

Kayseri 2nd High Assize Court sentenced lawyers Necati C and Ibrahim B (respectively) to 6 years 3 months, and 2 years and 1 month with the charge of being the member of the armed terrorist organisation.

So far, 16 lawyers have been sentenced in the province of Kayseri with the same charges

19 April | Tunceli|Woman lawyer was sentenced to jail term.

Lawyer Suna Bilgin who is the secretary general of the Human Rights Association’s (@ihd_genelmerkez) branch in the province of Tunceli sentenced to 6 years and 3 months with charge of being the member of the armed terrorist organisation.

 

10 April | Muş|HDP Deputy, lawyer Burcu Celik was sentenced to jail term.

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The High Assize Court in the province of Mus sentenced HDP Deputy, lawyer @avburcucelik who has been under pretrial detention since April 2017 to seven years and three months. The court also decided to remand her.

 

1 April | Istanbul|Two women lawyers were sentenced to jail term.

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Istanbul 2nd Penal Court sentenced lawyer @KeskinEren1 to 7,5 years and lawyer Ayse Batumlu to 5 months with the charge of terrorism propaganda. The two were on trial because of their peaceful solidarity action with Ozgur Gundem daily. 

 

LEGAL ENVIRONMENT & TURKEY’S TOXIC ANTI-TERROR LAWS

All persecuted lawyers are being charged with terror-linked offenses; the main two accusations directed against them are membership to an armed terrorist organisation, and forming and leading an armed terrorist organisation. Article 314 of the Penal Code criminalises the establishment and commanding of (Article 314/1), as well as membership (Article 314/2) to an armed organisation. Under the Turkish Penal Code, these two offences attract 7,5 to 22,5 years imprisonment. The Penal Code does not contain a definition of an armed organisation or an armed group.

The lack of legal definitions and criteria of the armed terrorist organization and the crime of membership in the armed terrorist organization make them prone to arbitrary application. Vague formulation of the criminal provisions on the security of the state and terrorism and their overly broad interpretation by the Turkish judges and prosecutors make all lawyers and other human rights defenders a prospective victim of judicial harassment. This blurred area under the Turkish Penal code is actively used by the Turkish government to investigate, prosecute and convict opponents.

As it has become a common practice in after the 15th July Coup attempt, 402.000 individuals have been investigated, prosecuted and / or convicted for terrorism offences stipulated in article 314 of Turkish Penal Code.15 Lawyers have particularly been targeted due to identity or affinity of their clients.

United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights reports that the OHCHR has observed a pattern concerning persecution of lawyers representing individuals accused of terrorism offences, where they are associated with their clients political views (or alleged political views) in the discharge of their professional duties and are consequently prosecuted for the same or other related offences of which their clients are being accused.



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