17 jailed lawyers in Turkey stage hunger strike to protest unfair court hearings

Lawyer Selçuk Kozağaçlı

Seventeen lawyers including Selçuk Kozağaçlı, president of the now-closed Progressive Lawyers’ Association (ÇHD), have begun a hunger strike in protest of the difficulties they face during their trials.

Under arrest on terror charges since November 2017, the lawyers were expected to appear before the court on September 10. However, their demand to show up in court in person was turned down for several reasons such as the long distance between the courthouse and the prisons in which they are being held, security risks and an inadequate number of prison vehicles and staff.

Ordered to give their defense via video conference (SEGBİS), the lawyers started a hunger strike in protest on Sept 3, according to reports in Turkish media.

Kozağaçlı is a leading counsel who represented Nuriye Gülmen and Semih Özakça, two teachers who started a hunger strike last year to protest their dismissal under state of emergency decree-laws issued after a failed coup in Turkey.

The Turkish government has prosecuted 1,546 lawyers, arrested 585 and sentenced 169 lawyers to lengthy prison terms since a controversial military coup attempt on July 15, 2016, according to data compiled by The Arrested Lawyers Initiative. (SCF with turkeypurge.com)

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