A Turkish court that had ruled for the release of 17 lawyers, most of whom have been imprisoned since September 2017 on accusations of “membership in an armed terrorist organization,” has decided to arrest 12 of them again due to the prosecutor’s objections to their release from pretrial detention.
The İstanbul 37th High Assize Court, which had ruled for the release of the lawyers at the first hearing of the trial of 20 lawyers on Friday, has ruled to re-detain 12 of them, including Association of Progressive Lawyers (ÇHD) Chairman Selçuk Kozağaçlı. Lawyers Behic Asci, Ahmet Mandaci, Aytaç Ünsal, Aycan Çiçek and Engin Gökoğlu were brought to detention cell of Istanbul Courthouse as seen in the footage below.
LAWYERS OF THE REARRESTED LAWYERS WERE BATTERED BY POLICE
Lawyers Behic Asci, Ahmet Mandaci, Aytaç Ünsal, Aycan Çiçek and Engin Gökoğlu were sent to prison after the re-detention warrant was read to their faces, the lawyers of those five lawyers were battered and frogmarched from the hearing room by police as seen in the footage below.
All lawyers standing trial are members of left-wing lawyers’ association the ÇHD and the People’s Law Office (HHB), which is known for its efforts against state repression and focuses on political processes across the country.
Seventeen of the lawyers have been in custody since September and November 2017. The court on Friday ordered the release of the lawyers but imposed a ban on international travel. The trial was adjourned until February 19, 2019.
According the report by Amnesty International, lawyers whose re-detention was ordered are Ahmet Mandacı, Aycan Çiçek, Aytaç Ünsal, Barkın Timtik, Behiç Aşçı, Ebru Timtik, Egin Gökoğlu, Naciye Demir, Özgür Yılmaz, Selçuk Kozağaçlı, Süleyman Gökten, and Şükriye Erden. The court rejected the prosecutor’s objection to the decision to release on bail in relation to lawyers Ayşegül Çağatay, Didem Ünsal Baydar, Yaprak Türkmen, Yağmur Ereren Evin, and Zehra Özdemir, which was then confirmed by Istanbul Heavy Penal Court No.1 on 17 September. As of 24 September, six of the 12 lawyers, including the chair of the Progressive Lawyers Association, Selçuk Kozağaçlı have been transferred to prison custody. The next trial hearing is scheduled for 19 and 20 February 2019.
Among the lawyers released is ÇHD chairman Kozağaçlı, who was arrested in November 2017. He had been arrested on the same charge in 2013 and released after the charges were dropped a year later.
The ÇHD, which was established in 1974 and is a member of the European Association of Lawyers for Democracy and Human Rights (ELDH), was closed about two years ago by a government decree under a state of emergency declared in the aftermath of a controversial coup attempt on July 15, 2016.
The Turkish government led by President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has prosecuted 1,546 lawyers on trumped up charges based on questionable accusations that preclude the right to a defense; 585 lawyers have been arrested so far, and 170 lawyers have been sentenced to jail terms ranging from three to 12 years.
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