Four lawyers work in People’s Law Office in Istanbul were detained with a police raid on 20 July 2019. Lawyers Aysegul Cagatay, Nadide Ozdemir, Görkem Agdede and Ebru Timtik who are the members of Istanbul Bar Association have been arrested after 5-day police custody by Istanbul Peace Criminal Judgeship.
Peace Criminal Judgeships are called special project courts that were introduced by Erdoğan Government on June 22, 2014 to persecute its critics. Exclusively authorized to carry out all investigatory processes including detention, arrest, property seizure and search warrants, penal judges of peace were handpicked by the government from among loyalists and partisans who pursued a witch-hunt primarily against members of the Gülen movement and the Kurdish political movement, who are treated as enemies by the government. As appeals against decisions by a penal judge of peace can be filed only with another penal judge of peace, this creates a “closed circuit” system that has drawn harsh criticism from PACE and the Venice Commission. The Venice Commission dealt with these courts when Cesar Florin Preda, chair of the Monitoring Committee of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE), requested an opinion on the duties, competences and functioning of the penal judges of peace on May 25, 2016. The Venice Commission issued its opinion on March 13, 2017 and said their jurisdiction and practices give rise to numerous concerns.
Lawyer Ebru Timtik’s sister, lawyer Barkin Timtik has already been sentenced to 19 years in prison along with 17 other lawyers who are the members of People’s Law Office, Progressive Lawyers Association.
Turkish lawyers have been subjected to a relentless crackdown since 2016 July. Some 1600 lawyers have been prosecuted, 603 have been arrested, and in some cases subjected to torture and ill-treatment in Turkey, just because of practicing their duty as the defence in the legal mechanism. So far, Turkey have sentenced 311 lawyers to 1967 years in prison.
Categories: Today in Crackdown