Tag Archives: Arrested Lawyers

Turkey ordered detention of 89 people over alleged Gülen links in a week

29/04/22

Turkish prosecutors have over the past week ordered the detention of 89 people including teachers, lawyers, active duty and dismissed military officers and former military cadets due to alleged links to the Gülen movement, according to Turkish media reports.

The public prosecutor’s office in Denizli on Monday issued detention warrants for 10 individuals including teachers and lawyers over alleged Gülen links. Police conducted operations in the provinces to detain five suspects.

As part of an investigation launched on Tuesday by the İstanbul Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office, detention warrants have been issued for 53 people including active duty and former military officers and former military cadets. Turkish police have detained 23 of the suspects in operations in 16 provinces.

[…]

Following the coup attempt, the Turkish government declared a state of emergency and carried out a massive purge of state institutions under the pretext of an anti-coup fight. More than 130,000 public servants, including 4,156 judges and prosecutors, as well as 29,444 members of the armed forces were summarily removed from their jobs for alleged membership in or relationships with “terrorist organizations” by emergency decree-laws subject to neither judicial nor parliamentary scrutiny.

A total of 319,587 people have been detained and 99,962 arrested in operations against supporters of the Gülen movement since the coup attempt, Turkey’s Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu said in November.

In addition to the thousands who were jailed, scores of other Gülen movement followers had to flee Turkey to avoid the government crackdown.

https://euromedrights.org/publication/free-the-gezi-defendants/

https://ahvalnews.com/gezi-trial/farce-called-gezi-trial-when-verdict-criminal-act

Turkey: Rights lawyer Can Atalay sentenced to 18 years in jail for “attempting to overthrow the government”

25/04/22

Turkish civil rights activist and philanthropist Osman Kavala was jailed for life without parole on Monday in a long-running case that sparked a diplomatic crisis and highlighted fears for the rule of law. 

The 64-year-old, who has been held in prison for 4½ years, was found guilty of attempting to overthrow the government in connection with mass protests that broke out in 2013 and a failed coup three years later. 

In a verdict greeted with boos and jeers, seven other defendants were sentenced to 18 years imprisonment at Istanbul’s Caglayan courthouse. The seven other defendants were civil rights activists Mucella Yapici, Can Atalay, Tayfun Kahraman, Ali Hakan Altinay, Yigit Ali Ekmekci, Cigdem Mater and Mine Ozerden

The trial of Henri Barkey, a US-based professor at Lehigh University, and seven other defendants will be continued in a separate case, the court ruled.

Many raised their fists in salute in a show of defiance and promised to continue their struggle. “We will not bow to persecution. We will resist persecution,” said defendant Can Atalay. 

Rights groups condemned the outcome of a case they had already criticized as unfounded and unjust. 

“Today, we have witnessed a travesty of justice of spectacular proportions,” said Nils Muiznieks, Europe director at Amnesty International, of the “politically motivated charade.” 

He added, “The court’s decision defies all logic. The prosecuting authorities have repeatedly failed to provide any evidence that substantiates the baseless charges of attempting to overthrow the government. 

“This unjust verdict shows that the Gezi trial was only an attempt to silence independent voices.” 

Emma Sinclair-Webb, Europe director at Human Rights Watch, described the conclusion of the “show trial” as “horrifying, cruel and evil.” 

[…]

https://www.al-monitor.com/originals/2022/04/turkish-court-jails-philanthropist-osman-kavala-life-widely-condemned-trial

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2022/apr/25/philanthropist-sentenced-to-life-in-turkey-in-travesty-trial-over-gezi-park-protests

https://m.bianet.org/english/law/260956-gezi-trial-aggravated-life-sentence-for-kavala-18-years-in-prison-for-seven-others

https://m.bianet.org/english/law/260956-judgment-day-in-gezi-trial-court-recesses-hearing-before-announcing-verdict

https://m.bianet.org/english/law/260956-judgment-day-in-gezi-trial-kavala-can-t-be-seen-due-to-problem-in-videoconference-system

https://www.ibanet.org/article/eec314ee-ab8f-4019-8ea5-117a8fce5802

https://www.europarl.europa.eu/delegations/fr/product/product-details/20220421DPU32664

https://www.frontlinedefenders.org/en/profile/can-atalay

https://www.gercekgundem.com/guncel/338243/portre-i-can-atalay-magdurlarin-doganin-avukati (TURKCE)

https://www.lemonde.fr/international/article/2022/04/26/en-turquie-osman-kavala-condamne-a-perpetuite-au-terme-d-une-parodie-de-justice_6123664_3210.html (FRANCAIS)

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Lawyers’ Day in Turkey: Hundreds of lawyers in jail

05/04/22

“We refuse to accept the 5th of April as a day for celebrations while hundreds of our colleagues are jailed over their professional activities,’ an official spokesperson of a lawyers’ association says on ‘Lawyers’ Day’ in Turkey.

Representatives of lawyers’ associations read out statements in Istanbul on Tuesday on the occasion of Lawyers’ Day in Turkey, stating that the 5 April cannot be a day of celebration while so many lawyers are incarcerated solely over their professional activities.

According to a report released in December 2021 by the Arrested Lawyers Initiative, more than 1,600 lawyers were detained and prosecuted while 615 lawyers were under pre-trial arrest in Turkey since 2016. Subsequently, 474 lawyers were sentenced to a total prison term of 2,966 years in prison on the grounds of membership of an armed terrorist organisation, or of spreading terrorist propaganda.

Esra Erin, the co-chair of Free Lawyers’ Association’s Istanbul branch said:

“Hundreds of our colleagues are in jail solely due to their professional activities. We refuse to accept the 5th of April as a day for celebration while our imprisoned colleagues are not free and among us. We have been visiting them in prison. Through their determination to stand against injustices and to carry on with their work even in their prison cells, they have reminded us yet again that a lawyer does not perform only in the courthouse, and that this is a profession to be performed practically anywhere as a rights struggle.”

She continued:

“A lawyer’s title is not just something that we lawyers can be stripped of. We carry on the struggle of Fuat Erdoğan, Faik Candan, Şefik Epözdemir and Medet Serhat who were killed in the 1990s, of Tahir Elçi who was killed in 2015, of Ebru Timtik who went on hunger strike for the right to fair trial on 5 April 2020 and who lost her life on 27 August 2020.”

https://www.americanbar.org/news/abanews/aba-news-archives/2022/04/aba-presidential-statement-re-lawyers-day-in-turkey/

https://bizimtv.com.tr/guncel/avukatlar-avukatlar-gununde-istanbul-adliyesinde-bulustu-yuzlerce-meslektasimiz-ha-78503h (TURKCE)

https://t24.com.tr/haber/istanbul-barosu-5-nisan-avukatlar-gunu-nu-yargi-krizi-ile-karsilasiyoruz,1025757

(FRANCAIS)

Turkey: New Report: Legal and Technical Issues Around Turkey’s Malicious Bylock Prosecutions

30/11/21

BYLOCK REPORT COVER

The Arrested Lawyers Initiative published a new report titled ‘Legal and Technical Issues Around Turkey’s Malicious Bylock Prosecutions‘ on criminalization of the usage of Bylock app that victimized more than 90,000 individuals.

“Bylock data is not lawful and admissible evidence but is a tool of malicious prosecution given to the Turkish Judiciary by the National Intelligence Agency. The only possible remedy for tens of thousands malicious prosecutions would be the quashing of all of the convictions which were even partly based on the Bylock App, and then giving all those who have been so convicted a fair trial where the above-mentioned ECtHR and the UN decisions will be taken into account.” is said in the report.

In the light of three international expert reports, and a recently surfaced an US Federal Court document, the report concludes that the Turkish government’s ‘exclusive usage claim’ is factually incorrect.

[…]

https://trnews0.blogspot.com/2021/11/new-report-legal-and-technical-issues.html

https://bianet.org/english/world/253770-turkey-to-pay-over-2-million-euro-in-damages-to-427-judges-prosecutors

Turkey sentenced 450 lawyers to 2,786 years in prison after 2016 coup: report

26/10/21

Four-hundred-fifty lawyers in Turkey have been sentenced to 2,786 years in total on trumped-up charges of terrorism since a coup attempt in July 2016, Turkish Minute reported, citing a statement by the Arrested Lawyers Initiative, an advocacy group defending lawyers’ rights.

The statement, released Monday on the occasion of October 25, European Lawyers Day, also said more than 1,600 lawyers had been arrested and prosecuted while 615 had been remanded to pre-trial detention in the same period.

“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,” they said, noting that 450 attorneys were sentenced to 2,786 years in total on charges that include “membership of an armed terrorist organization” and “spreading terrorist propaganda.”

According to the statement, 15 of the lawyers who were detained or arrested after the 2016 coup were current or former presidents of provincial bar associations and some lawyers under arrest were subjected to torture and ill-treatment.

“The Turkish government has also targeted Turkish lawyers’ right to free association,” the report said, adding that 34 lawyers’ societies or associations have been shut down since the declaration of a state of emergency days after the attempted coup, with all their assets confiscated.

The group stated in conclusion that they would be “most grateful” if arrested Turkish lawyers are remembered and that people speak up against the ongoing persecution of Turkish lawyers on the occasion of European Lawyers Day.

In the latest incident of operations targeting lawyers in Turkey, the police on Tuesday detained 10 as part of an operation carried out in İstanbul, Ankara, Adana, Van, Diyarbakır, Antalya and Denizli provinces and targeted members of the Gülen movement.

[…]

https://www.hawarnews.com/en/haber/afrin-kurdish-female-lawyer-abducted-by-mit-h27372.html

Turkey: Constitutional Court judgment exposes police torture against lawyer Gürsu Avcı

12/08/21

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The Turkish Constitutional Court established that Turkish lawyer Gürsu Avcı was tortured in a police station where he went to provide legal counsel with three suspects. (Gürsu Avcı, B. No: 2017/20159, 13/4/2021)

On 19.07.2016, Mr Avcı, who was assigned by İstanbul Bar Association to provide legal counsel with three suspects, arrived at the police headquarters in Gaziosmanpasa, Istanbul to visit his clients. He produced his lawyer’s ID card and asked to be let to see his clients. However, he was unlawfully denied entry. He then said he wanted to be present in the medical examination of his clients which was unusually to take place in the office of the police chief for some security concerns. Then he had to shout his advice to his clients who were being taken for examination that they had to show their injuries to the doctors when being examined. Angered by Mr Avcı’s efforts to reach out to his clients, police officer, identified only as M.S, started to swear at him before forcibly taking him to an empty room which was being used as a kitchen and physically assaulted him with the help of some other police officers and handcuffed Mr Avcı behind his back.

His clients confirmed the altercation and said that they saw Mr Avcı being taken away and heard him scream in pain. The security camera recordings showed him being led into a room where there were no security cameras.

As a result, Mr Avcı sustained bruises to his arms, legs and neck and bleeding in the nose which was confirmed in a doctor’s report.

[…]

According to a report by the Arrested Lawyers Initiative, since 2016’s coup attempt there is a relentless against lawyers in Turkey. The report established that more than 1600 lawyers have been arrested and prosecuted while 615 lawyers have been remanded to pretrial detention. So far, 450 lawyers have been sentenced to a total of 2786 years in prison on the grounds of membership of an armed terrorism organization or of spreading terrorist propaganda. 

https://arrestedlawyers.org/2021/08/12/constitutional-court-judgment-exposes-the-police-torture-against-turkish-lawyer-gursu-avci/

https://turkeytribunal.com/

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Concerns about access to the legal profession and increasing disbarments of lawyers in Turkey

19/07/21

Concerns about access to the legal profession and increasing disbarments of lawyers in Turkey

In a joint statement, Lawyers for Lawyers, AIJA – International Association of Young Lawyers, the Institute for the Rule of Law of the International Association of Lawyers (UIA-IROL), the International Bar Association’s Human Rights Institute (IBAHRI), Lawyers’ Rights Watch Canada, The Law Society of England and Wales, and The Netherlands Helsinki Committee express concern about access to the legal profession and the increasing number of disbarments in Turkey.

We, the undersigned organizations, have long been deeply concerned about the increasingly challenging and hostile environment  in which  lawyers in Turkey have had to operate since the state of emergency following the attempted coup in July 2016. Lawyers have been subjected to judicial harassment, including mass arrests, raids, violent attacks, threats, surveillance, illegitimate criminal charges, unfair trials and harsh sentences in disregard of the most basic principles of the rule of law.

We are worried about another tool used by the government to further target and pressure lawyers, by preventing individuals who are being investigated, prosecuted or dismissed by emergency decrees which have now become part of the permanent law, from enrolling in law apprenticeships or obtaining their license to practice law.[i] This systematic practice has increased considerably since the state of emergency.[ii] We are also alarmed about the growing number of lawyers who have seen their licenses to practice law annulled on the same grounds.

[…]

https://www.fidh.org/en/issues/human-rights-defenders/turkey-ongoing-judicial-harassment-of-human-rights-lawyer-eren-keskin

https://www.amnesty.fr/liberte-d-expression/actualites/les-11-distanbul-une-affaire-emblematique-de-la-repression-en-turquie (FRANCAIS)

Turkey: Dozens nabbed in operations against FETÖ handlers in Turkey

06/07/21

Counterterrorism police escort a captured suspect in an operation against FETÖ, in Istanbul, Turkey, March 31, 2021. (İHA PHOTO)

Turkish security forces on Tuesday detained dozens of suspects in separate operations across the country against the Gülenist Terror Group (FETÖ). At least 50 people were nabbed in operations targeting the group’s secret members, including handlers for its infiltrators in the judiciary and a group of lawyers.

In the capital, Ankara, the Chief Prosecutor’s Office issued arrest warrants for 66 suspects, who were identified through a probe on “judiciary imams” of the terrorist group. The group uses the term “imam” in reference to handlers for infiltrators everywhere, from the judiciary to military, law enforcement and bureaucracy. Some 50 suspects were captured while a manhunt is underway to capture the others.

In another operation based in Istanbul, authorities issued arrest warrants for 15 lawyers linked to the terrorist group. A number of suspects were detained though police did not announce exact numbers.

[…]

https://www.dailysabah.com/turkey/investigations/dozens-nabbed-in-operations-against-feto-handlers-in-turkey

https://arrestedlawyers.org/2021/06/10/abuse-of-the-anti-terrorism-laws-by-turkey-is-steadily-increasing/

Turkey: ‘Detaining lawyers in Turkey has become routine practice’ — Amnesty International

16/02/21

koşulsuz adalet hareketi

Every Friday since November, a group of activists founded by Turkish lawyers in Europe have gathered before the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) as part of the ‘Movement for Unconditional Justice’. Their goal: bring Turkey’s judicial plight and rights violations to the attention of Europe’s top human rights court.

“Detaining lawyers has become routine practice in Turkey, deepening the climate of fear and repression across the country. Lawyers are also coming under physical, sometimes fatal, attack,” warns Stefan Simanowitz of Amnesty International

Turkish lawyers have been among the primary victims of an ongoing government crackdown implemented in the aftermath of the failed military coup back in 2016, in which 250 people were killed. The Turkish government accuse them of representing clients who had links to the network behind the coup, with President Tayyip Erdogan speaking last September of the need to ‘cut the road from lawyer to terrorist’. Straight after his speech, 115 lawyers from different groups were detained. Over the last decade, Turkish courts have handed down 2,728 years of prison sentences to 441 attorneys.

Roisin Pillay, Director of the International Commission of Jurists (ICJ) said that ‘lawyers should never be arrested or sanctioned for representing their clients, or identified with their clients’ causes.’

The detentions are just one facet of an ever-escalating series of hurdles placed before the country’s lawyers.

[…]

https://cyprus-mail.com/2021/02/16/detaining-lawyers-in-turkey-amnesty-international/

https://ahvalnews.com/turkey-judiciary/european-lawyers-start-movement-carry-plight-colleagues-turkey-echr

UK: Back to basics on protecting lawyers

08/02/21

Image result for The Law Society Gazette

Not associating lawyers with their clients is a UN basic principle, but this has not stopped the demonisation – often by government – of those in the profession for merely discharging their duties

It is now three decades since a United Nations conference adopted a global set of safeguards for an independent legal profession. The so-called basic principles were adopted at a 1990 conference in Havana (where president Fidel Castro assured delegates that Cuba was ‘virtually free from many forms of contemporary crime’). One of the most treasured of those principles is the statement: ‘Lawyers shall not be identified with their clients or their clients’ causes as a result of discharging their functions.’

This noble sentiment has not prevented the persecution of lawyers across the world for discharging their functions. To take one example, the Turkey campaign group Arrested Lawyers states that, since 2016, 450 lawyers have been sentenced to a total of 2,786 years in prison for alleged involvement in terrorism: in several cases their ‘crime’ was to act on behalf of lawyers already jailed.

The UK should not be too smug: the government continues to reject calls for an inquiry into what it has admitted is strong evidence of security forces collusion in the 1989 murder of Belfast solicitor Pat Finucane.  

More recent identifications of lawyers with their clients have involved words rather than violence, but are disturbing nonetheless. Last month the profession was unanimous in its support when distinguished barrister Dinah Rose QC came under attack for accepting a brief to appear in a Privy Council case concerning the legality of gay marriage in the Cayman Islands. Rose pointed out that the Bar Standards Board code expressly forbids a barrister from withdrawing from a case because of external pressure.

[…]

All this, of course, is taking place against the background of last year’s party conference jibes by the prime minister and home secretary about ‘lefty lawyers’ acting in asylum claims. The remarks prompted outrage in all branches of the profession, with the bar chair accusing the home secretary of seeking ‘to demonise the very people helping constituents every day, without agenda, simply because they provide a vital public service’.

In a grim reminder of the risks lawyers can face, a man was subsequently charged with an attempted knife attack on a prominent legal aid firm. The case is currently sub judice.  

[…]

https://www.lawgazette.co.uk/news-focus/news-focus-back-to-basics-on-protecting-lawyers/5107319.article

https://www.ohchr.org/EN/ProfessionalInterest/Pages/RoleOfLawyers.aspx

https://www.nichibenren.or.jp/en/events/210313.html

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