Ankara Court sentences 21 lawyers to some 150 years in prison

Ankara 22nd Heavy Penal Court sentences 21 lawyers to some 150 years in prison. Lawyers who were detained on 3rd and 26th of August 2016, were convicted under Article 314§2 of the Turkish Penal Code which criminalizes membership to an armed terrorist organization. Two of the 21 lawyers are remanded by the Court while the other 19 lawyers were released.

 

 

The Ankara Court sentenced 21 lawyers as follows:
  • Ali Fuat Babatan: 8 years 1 months and 15 days
  • Mehmet Rasim Kuseyri: 8 years 1 months and 15 days
  • Mehmet Deveci: 7 years and 6 months
  • Abdulkadir Ceylani Özgül: 7 years and 6 months
  • Hasan Basri Aksoy: 7 years and 6 months 
  • Cemalettin Karadaş: 7 years and 6 months
  • Çağlayan Erginay: 7 years and 6 months
  • Süleyman Sallı: 7 years and 6 months
  • Şaban Yağcı: 7 years and 6 months
  • İsmail Yıldırım: 6 years, 10 months and 15 days
  • Ömer Karadeniz: 6 years, 10 months and 15 days
  • Mehmet Derdiyok: 6 years, 10 months and 15 days
  • Murat Araç: 6 years, 10 months and 15 days
  • Hüseyin Mehan: 6 years, 10 months and 15 days
  • İbrahim Temur: 6 years, 10 months and 15 days
  • Muhammet Ali Özdel: 6 years and  3 months 
  • Eren Babahanoğlu: 6 years and  3 months 
  • İbrahim Löklüoğlu: 6 years and  3 months
  • Fuat Yüksel: 6 years and  3 months 
  • Mücahit Kozan: 6 years and  3 months 
  • Sait Şahan: 6 years and  3 months.

 

Family members, including underage children, were also the subjects of a secret investigation. of these lawyers are, too, targeted by the Turkish Government as reported.

According to documents reviewed by Nordic Monitor, the Turkish government investigated the spouses and children of 28 lawyers including prominent attorneys who have been jailed or forced to live in exile since the crackdown started in 2015 and intensified a year later. The documents show spouses and children including underage youngsters were investigated by the Financial Crimes Investigation Board (MASAK), an executive organ attached to the Finance and Treasury Ministry, which is led by Berat Albayrak, Erdoğan’s son-in-law.

The investigation documents were found in docket No. 2017/134 of the Ankara 22nd High Criminal Court, which is hearing the trials of dozens of jailed lawyers. The Masak report, dated July 13, 2018, reveals how intrusive the Turkish government was in its campaign of intimidation of lawyers who were harassed and threatened with the prosecution of family members on fabricated charges. The report lists 83 people as being targeted, indicating that some of the lawyers have more than one child and that all of them were listed as suspected criminals in an unprecedented prosecution of lawyers and rights defenders.

On 30 April 2019, the Council of Bars and Law Societies of Europe (CCBE) addressed a letter to the President Erdogan to express its concern over the sentencing of 21 lawyers by the Ankara 22nd Heavy Penal Court. The letter was concluded as following:

In view of the above, the CCBE respectfully urges Your Excellency to do everything in your power to restore the freedom of all 21 lawyers since it is believed that their sentencing is solely based on their activities as lawyers. In addition, the CCBE asks that you take all necessary measures to guarantee that all lawyers in Turkey are able to carry out their professional duties without fear of reprisal, hindrance, intimidation or harassment, in order to preserve the independence and integrity of the administration of justice and the rule of law.

 


Turkey’s anti-terrorism legislation consists of two separate laws: the Turkish Penal Code (5237) (“TPC”) and Anti-Terrorism Law (3713). Many articles of the Anti-Terrorism Law were rescinded but article 5, which is still in force, stipulates the aggravation of the terrorism-related sentences by half.

Sub-section 1[1] (Article 314/1) of Article 314 of the Turkish Penal Code criminalises the establishment and/or commanding an armed terrorist organisation, and the subsection 2 (Article 314/2) [2]  criminalises the membership to an armed organisation. Under the Turkish Penal Code, these two offences carry the penalty of 7.5 to 22.5 years imprisonment.

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  274 lawyers were sentenced to some 1800 years in prison. Some of the arrested lawyers were subjected tortureand ill-treatment.



Categories: Today in Crackdown, Unjust / Wrongful Convictions

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