Former Turkish prosecutor held in solitary confinement for 500 days

Former İstanbul prosecutor Sadrettin Sarıkaya has been held in solitary confinement for more than 500 days, according to his son Seyfullah Sarıkaya.

Sadrettin Sarıkaya, the prosecutor who had called Hakan Fidan, the head of Turkey’s notorious National Intelligence Organisation (MİT) for testimony as part of a 2012 investigation into the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), was dismissed from his post over alleged links to the Gülen movement and jailed pending trial in February 2017.

“Enough is enough. My father Sadrettin Sarıkaya has been kept in a one-person cell for 500 days. Even though you are not providing a fair trial, [at least] show some mercy. This amounts to torture,” his son Seyfullah Sarıkaya tweeted on Monday.

The Justice and Deveoloment Party (AKP) government led by President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has arrested a total of 2,431 judges and prosecutors and dismissed 4,424 others in the judicial system since a controversial military coup attempt on July 15, 2016, a Constitutional Court general assembly ruling revealed in early August 2017.

The government has also prosecuted 1,539 lawyers, arrested 580 and sentenced 103 lawyers to long prison terms since the coup attempt, according to a report released by The Arrested Lawyers Initiative.

Turkey’s judiciary is being criticized for acting on orders from President Erdoğan and not basing their rulings on law. Judges in Turkey who make decisions that anger Erdoğan are either replaced or jailed. Turkey has fallen to 101st position out of 113 countries in the World Justice Project’s (WJP) 2017-18 Rule of Law Index, a comprehensive measure of the rule of law.

Turkey has been criticized by European institutions and international human rights organizations for extended pre-trial detentions that can last for years. A comprehensive report by the Stockholm Center for Freedom (SCF) titled “Turkey’s descent into arbitrariness: The end of rule of law” provides detailed information on how the rule of law has lost meaning in the Turkish context, confirming the effective collapse of all domestic judicial and administrative remedies available to Turkish citizens who lodge complaints on rights violations.

Turkey survived a controversial military coup attempt on July 15, 2016 that killed 249 people. Immediately after the putsch, the Justice and Development Party (AKP) government along with President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan pinned the blame on the Gülen movement.

Fethullah Gülen, who inspired the movement, strongly denied having any role in the failed coup and called for an international investigation into it, but President Erdoğan — calling the coup attempt “a gift from God” — and the government initiated a widespread purge aimed at cleansing sympathizers of the movement from within state institutions, dehumanizing its popular figures and putting them in custody.

Turkey has suspended or dismissed more than 150,000 judges, teachers, police and civil servants since July 15. On December 13, 2017 the Justice Ministry announced that 169,013 people have been the subject of legal proceedings on coup charges since the failed coup.

Turkish Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu announced on April 18, 2018 that the Turkish government had jailed 77,081 people between July 15, 2016 and April 11, 2018 over alleged links to the Gülen movement. (SCF with turkeypurge.com)

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