Innocent Lives Lost: Crackdown on Lawyers Takes a Toll

In a tragic turn of events, the Turkish government’s relentless crackdown on lawyers has resulted in the loss of innocent lives. Since the controversial coup attempt in July 2016, President Erdogan’s administration has escalated its crackdown on lawyers, leading to a staggering number of arrests and harsh sentences on terrorism-related charges. According to the Arrested Lawyers Initiative, over 1,600 lawyers have been arrested by the police, with 551 of them receiving shockingly long sentences of up to 3,356 years on terrorism-related charges.

These arrests are often based on alleged membership in terrorist organizations, with one of the main reasons being the use of an encrypted messaging app called Bylock. According to the official statements, more than 96,000 people have been apprehended by police for claims related to Bylock usage.


Nesimi Yalçınoğlu, a well-respected local lawyer registered with the Mersin Bar Association, became one of the 96,000 people arrested solely on grounds of Bylock usage. Despite two reports by prominent experts Koray Peksayar and Levent Maziliguney proving the claim of Bylock usage to be groundless, he was detained in 2017 and remanded pretrial detention for 5 months. Local press fueled the unfair treatment, tainting his reputation and causing around 200 clients to terminate their contracts with him during his time in detention.

Tragedy struck during his unjust detention, as Mr. Yalçınoğlu’s elderly mother passed away, and he was diagnosed with Multiple Myeloma Amyloidosis. Despite eventually being acquitted by the Mersin 9th High Criminal Court, the damage was already done, and his health had deteriorated significantly.

Recently, lawyer Nesimi Yalçınoğlu died, becoming yet another victim of the Turkish judiciary, which has been weaponised by the Erdogan government to rule by fear.

Related: Death in prison: the case of 3 Turkish lawyers

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  • This report is based on an article by lawyer Levent Maziliguney published in the news portal Serbestiyet.

Related: Death in prison: the case of 3 Turkish lawyers

Categories: Turkey Human Rights Blog, Unjust / Wrongful Convictions

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  1. Turkey: Innocent Lives Lost: Crackdown on Lawyers Takes a Toll | IAPL Monitoring Committee on Attacks on Lawyers
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