July 27, 2016
Since the attempted coup in Turkey on 15 July 2016, more than 60.000 people have been fired or suspended from their jobs, many of whom were also arrested. Among them are 2.745 judges. Now, lawyers are also targeted.
Prominent human rights lawyer and journalist Orhan Kemal Cengizand his wife Sibel Semira Hurtas were arrested on 21 July 2016 on Istanbul’s Ataturk Airport, on their way to London to discuss the formation of the Tahir Elci Foundation. Mrs Hurtas was released the same day, mr Cengiz three days later. He is still subject to travel restrictions. It is unclear what the grounds for these measures are.
The same day it was reported that 11 lawyers were arrested in Izmir, and a warrant for the arrest of 14 other lawyers was issued. In this case it is also unclear why the lawyers were arrested. Through various sources we are informed that in Istanbul approximately 50 lawyers are held incommunicado, with no access to lawyers.
L4L President Phon van den Biesen: ‘Although we understand that the Turkish government must respond to the attempted coup, we are worried about their current actions. They seem to undermine the rule of law, which is an essential part in any democracy, even in a state of emergency.’