Turkey: More than 1500 lawyers prosecuted and 605 held in pretrial detention since 2016 coup attempt

The Arrested Lawyers Initiative has published an update to its report on the situation following the 2016 attempted coup in Turkey, following which the government unleashed a wave of repression.


Report Update: Mass Prosecution of Lawyers in Turkey (2016-2020) (link, all emphasis added):

"According to the latest version of the report, since 2016’s coup attempt more than 1500 lawyers have been prosecuted and 605 lawyers arrested (remanded to pretrial detention). So far, 441 lawyers have been sentenced to a total of 2728 years in prison on the grounds of membership of an armed terrorism organization or of spreading terrorist propaganda.

Report also shows, 14 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.

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. The United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights reports that the OHCHR has observed a pattern concerning the persecution of lawyers representing individuals who areaccused of terrorism offences, where they are associated with their clients’ political views (or alleged political views) in the discharge of their professional duties and are consequently prosecuted for the same, or other related offences of which their clients are being accused."

 

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