26 November | Bursa|10 lawyers have been convicted of terrorism charges
Bursa 2nd and 10th High Assize Courts have sentenced 10 lawyers to long imprisonment after two-year trial. Members of Bursa Bar Associations BUGRA BUYUKEREN, HILMI SARI, MEHMET ISIK, MUSTAFA YELBEY, OKAN GOKALP, MUSTAFA GÜLEÇ, MEHMET SÖNMEZ, MUSTAFA CANBAZ were sentenced to six years and three months in prison while lawyers ALI HASDEMIR, CAGATAY AYGUN were first one year and seven months under the article 314/2 of Turkish Penal Code that punishes membership to an armed terrorist organization.
1 November | Istanbul|1 lawyers have been convicted of terrorism charges
Istanbul 35th Assize Court sentenced lawyer Efkan Bolac to three years in prison with the accusation of disseminating terrorism propaganda because of his statement made in tv show broadcasted in 2015.
21 November | Istanbul|2 lawyers have been convicted of terrorism charges
Lawyer Fatma Saadet Yılmazer, the member of Sakarya Bar Association, and her sister intern-lawyer Rabia Fitnat Yilmazer, daughters of imprisoned intelligence chief Ali Fuat Yılmazer, have been given a prison sentence of 7 years, 6 months for her alleged links to Turkey’s Gülen group, the pro-government Akşam daily reported. The sentences were given by Istanbul 35th and 37th Assize Courts.
Both lawyers are convicted of using ByLock and also depositing money in the Gülen-affiliated Bank Asya to help it survive in the wake of a government operation to sink the bank. Bank Asya was closed down by the government in the aftermath of the coup attempt due to its links to the Gülen group.
20 November | Gaziantep|Lawyer Omer Faruk Tosun was sentenced to 6 years and three months in prison
Gaziantep 8th High Assize Court sentenced lawyer Omer Faruk Tosun to six years and three months in prison under the article 314/2 of Turkish Penal Code that punishes membership to an armed terrorist organization. The Court said its decision that affiliations of lawyer Mr Tosun’s clients, having an account in Bankasya and his membership to a lawyers’ association which was dissolved under Emergency Regime proves his membership to an armed terrorist organization.
SITUATION IN TURKEY
There has been a relentless campaign of arrests which has targeted fellow lawyers across the Turkey. 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, 593 lawyers have been arrested and 208 lawyers were sentenced to long imprisonment. Some of the arrested lawyers were subjected tortureand ill-treatment.
Our latest report entitled “Incarceration of Turkish Lawyers | Unjust Arrests and Convictions (2016-2018)” reveals that 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.
According to the report “The Turkish 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.”
“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.” was said in the report.