Tag Archives: Arrested Lawyers

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

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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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Turkey: Report Update: Mass Prosecution of Lawyers in Turkey (2016-2021)

18/01/21

The Arrested Lawyers Initiative published the fifth edition of its report named ‘Mass Prosecution of Lawyers in Turkey‘.

MASS PROSECUTION OF LAWYERS IN TURKEY (January 2021)

According to the latest version of the report, since 2016’s coup attempt 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. 

450 lawyers were sentenced

15 of the persecuted lawyers are presidents (or former presidents) of their respective provincial bar associations, for example; President of the Konya Bar Association, Fevzi Kayacan, President of the Trabzon Bar Association, Orhan Öngöz, President of the Siirt Bar Association, Cemal Acar, President of the Gumushane Bar Association, Ismail Tastan were arrested and unlawfully unseated. Furthermore, the presidents of the Aksaray and Kahramanmaras Bar Associations, Levent Bozkurt and Vahit Bagci, respectively, and the former presidents of the Yozgat Bar Association, Haci Ibis and Fahri Acikgoz, were detained for a certain time before they were released on bail. In January 2021, former president of Diyarbakir Bar Association, Mehmet Emin Aktar was sentenced to six years and three months in prison under Art. 314 of Penal Code. 

Report presents that all of the persecuted lawyers are being charged with terror-linked offenses; the two main accusations imputed to them are membership of an armed terrorist organisation, and forming and leading an armed terrorist organisation.

Lawyers have particularly been targeted due to the identity or affinity of their clients.

[…]

Turkey: 49 terror suspects arrested across Turkey

14/01/21

49 terror suspects arrested across Turkey

At least 49 suspects were arrested on Thursday as part of an operation against terrorist groups across Turkey, according to security sources. 

An Izmir-based operation was carried out simultaneously across 12 provinces of Turkey as part of a probe against far-left terror groups such as MLKP, TKP/ML, DSIH as well as YPG/PKK.

Out of the 51 suspects, 49 were arrested during the operations, said the sources, who spoke on condition of anonymity due to restrictions on talking to the media.

ESP terror group’s co-chair Ozlem Gumustas, former Izmir provincial head Pinar Turk and Kerim Altinmakas, as well as two lawyers, four Izmir municipality personnel were among those arrested.

Anti-terror units seized a number of digital materials, illegal publishing, documents belonging to terror groups, and 50,000 Turkish liras (approx. $6,750) during the operations.

Huseyin Askin, the provincial police chief, told reporters that it was a wide-range operation against the terror groups.

[…]

https://www.aa.com.tr/en/turkey/49-terror-suspects-arrested-across-turkey/2109415

https://www.dailysabah.com/politics/war-on-terror/turkish-security-forces-detain-48-suspects-in-counterterrorism-operation

https://www.urdupoint.com/en/world/dozens-of-suspects-linked-to-terror-groups-ar-1141235.html

https://www.hrw.org/world-report/2021/country-chapters/turkey

Turkey: Court of Appeals Upholds 159-Year Prison Term for Contemporary Lawyers’ Association Members

October 16, 2019

The court has rejected all the objections on the merits, making the final judgment for six lawyers. The arrest of the six lawyers will continue.

İstanbul Regional Court of Justice 2nd Penal Chamber (court of appeals) has announced its decision in the case where lawyers from the Contemporary Lawyers’ Association (ÇHD) were given a 159-year prison term in total.

All objections have been rejected on the merits.

This is the final judgment for six lawyers who were sentenced to less than five years in prison, therefore they will not be able to appeal the verdict.

Twelve lawyers who were sentenced to more than five years in prison can appeal the decision at the Court of Cassation.

Reason for the refusal: Court’s opinion and assessment

The court of appeals, in its verdict dated October 8, explained the reason for refusing the objections as follows:

“According to defendants’ statements of defense, the proceedings, the evidence collected and displayed at the court, the opinion and assessment of the court in accordance with the results of the investigation, the content of the case file, it has been understood that there is no procedural or meritorious unlawfulness in the court’s decision, there is no deficiency in the evidence and proceedings that the actions are considered correct and in accordance with the type of crime that is stated in the law, the sentence is implemented in the legal context…”

http://bianet.org/english/law/214528-court-of-appeals-upholds-159-year-prison-term-for-contemporary-lawyers-association-members

Istanbul Regional Appeal Court upheld 159 years prison term given to 18 lawyers

https://bianet.org/1/13/214493-istinaf-chd-davasinda-159-yillik-hapis-cezasini-onadi (TURKCE)

https://gazetekarinca.com/2019/10/istinaf-chd-ve-hhbli-avukatlara-verilen-hapis-cezasini-onadi/ (TURKCE)

https://ilerihaber.org/icerik/chd-davasinda-istinaf-basvurusu-reddedildi-104932.html (TURKCE)

Turkey: Report: There still 143 lawyers in Turkish prisons

September 17, 2019

In response to a parliamentary question of Mr Sezgin Tanrikulu, the Turkish Ministry of Justice announced the number of lawyers held in prison by years. According to the Ministry of Justice the number of lawyers remanded in pretrial detention by years as following: 354, 487, 169 and 143, respectively in 2016, 2017, 2018 and 2019.

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Since 2016’s coup attempt, there has been a relentless campaign of arrests which has targeted lawyers across Turkey. In 77 of Turkey’s 81 provinces, lawyers have beendetained, prosecuted and convicted due to alleged terror-linked offenses. As of today, more than 1500 lawyers have been prosecuted and 599 lawyers arrested. So far, 321 lawyers have been sentenced to 2022 years in prison on the grounds of membership of an armed terrorism organization or of spreading terrorist propaganda.

Lawyers who were released after a certain time of pretrial detention will return to prison if their pending appeals dismissed.

Report: There still 143 lawyers in Turkish prisons

Abuse of the Anti-Terrorism Provision by Turkey is steadily increasing

https://ahvalnews.com/arrested-lawyers/turkey-has-sentenced-321-lawyers-2000-years-jail-2016-report

https://www.hrw.org/news/2019/04/10/turkey-mass-prosecution-lawyers

18 Lawyers sentenced to long prison terms

https://ahvalnews.com/selahattin-demirtas/selahattin-demirtas-release-order-upon-release-order-still-jail

https://www.euronews.com/2019/09/11/lawyers-seek-kurdish-politician-demirtas-release-from-turkish-prison-source

https://www.aa.com.tr/en/turkey/turkeyex-top-judiciary-official-gets-15-year-jail-term/1586483

Arbitrary Detention of Lawyers and Defenders in China, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, and Cameroon | Oral Statement to the 42nd Session of the UN Human Rights Council

http://www.milliyet.com.tr/gundem/bylock-kullanan-avukata-hapis-6041404 (TURKCE)

LATEST REPORT | MASS PROSECUTION OF LAWYERS IN TURKEY

Turkey: Report: Key evidence was spoliated in an investigation relating the murder of Tahir Elçi

September 11, 2019

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Turkish journalist Cevheri Guven reports that the most crucial evidence that might lead to the discovery of the perpetrator of the assassination of Tahir Elci was removed from the investigation file and spoliated in the Turkish Institution of Forensic Medicine. According to a bombshell news story published in Boldmedya spoliation of the evidence was carried out at the order of the President of the Institution of Forensic Medicine.


THE EVIDENCE THAT MAY DISCOVER THE MURDERER OF TAHIR ELCI WAS DESTROYED.

The forensic doctor Mehtap Altuğ, in her official statement, stated that the most crucial evidence for the investigation in relation to the assassination of Tahir Elçi was spoliated at the order of the President of the Institution of Forensic Medicine.

It was revealed that the most crucial evidence that might lead to the discovery of the perpetrator of the assassination of Tahir Elci was removed from the investigation file in the Institution of Forensic Medicine. Mehtap Altug, who is a forensic geneticist in the Istanbul Forensic Institution, explained the spoliation of evidence in detail during an investigation that was carried out by the Istanbul / Bakirkoy Prosecution Office. However, the issue was hushed up.

The President of the Diyarbakir Bar Association, Tahir Elçi, was shot to death on 28th November, 2015, in Diyarbakir. Despite the four years that have passed since then, the gun that fired the bullet which killed Mr Elçi has not been identified.

Report: Key evidence was spoliated in an investigation relating the murder of Tahir Elçi

The Evidence That May Discover The Murderer Of Tahir Elçi Was Destroyed

http://bianet.org/english/human-rights/212972-lawyer-can-tombul-released

Can Tombul released from pre-trial detention

https://ahvalnews.com/turkish-judiciary/turkeys-akp-set-weaken-largest-bar-associations-following-ceremony-boycott

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tahir_El%C3%A7i

http://bianet.org/bianet/insan-haklari/213041-tahir-elci-sorusturmasinda-delil-karartildi-mi (TURKCE)

https://www.gazeteduvar.com.tr/gundem/2019/09/11/tahir-elci-cinayetinde-delil-karartma-iddiasi/ (TURKCE)

https://www.birgun.net/haber/adli-tip-kurumu-calisani-tahir-elci-cinayetinde-delil-karartildi-268114 (TURKCE)

https://www.evrensel.net/haber/386760/adli-tip-tahir-elci-cinayetine-iliskin-delilleri-karartiyor-mu (TURKCE)

https://fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tahir_El%C3%A7i (FRANCAIS)