35 lawyers of suspects in Gülen movement trials detained

Turkish police on Thursday detained 35 lawyers who are defending suspects accused of links to the Gülen movement in several ongoing trials.

Arrest warrants were issued for 80 lawyers, and 35 of them were detained in house raids across Turkey.

The arrest warrants target lawyers including those defending imprisoned journalist Hidayet Karaca, the former head of the now-shut-down Samanyolu TV station, exiled businessman Akın İpek, the former chief executive of Bank Asya and some jailed police officers.

Turkish authorities have issued sweeping arrest warrants against 967 lawyers within last seven months on what is believed to be a part of crackdown on critics and opponents of Turkey’s autocratic President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and his government. So far 362 lawyers including prominent criminal law attorneys and heads of provincial Bar Associations were formally arrested while many were forced to self-exile to avoid torture and ill treatment in jails. The government also purged 108 academics including famous law professors from law schools of public universities and fired 108 government lawyers en masse.

What is more, the authorities also ordered the seizure of all assets of lawyers who faced an arrest although they were not convicted of any crime and there was no indictment filed and no trial hearing held yet. The seizure of assets has deprived family members of their livelihood while lawyers are left languishing behind bars in long pre-trial detentions. The ALI criticized the position of TBB and its leadership for not taking a strong position against the crackdown and not mounting a rigorous defense for the rights of accused lawyers.

Turkey has been conducting a massive crackdown against real and perceived sympathizers of the Gülen movement that gained momentum particularly after a failed coup on July 15. (SCF with turkishminue.com) March 23, 2017

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