Jailed head of lawyers association allowed to attend father’s funeral in handcuffs

Turkish lawyer Selçuk Kozağaçlı, president of the now-closed Progressive Lawyers Association (ÇHD) who has been behind bars since November 2017 on terrorism charges, was allowed to attend the funeral of his father on Saturday in handcuffs.

The funeral of Kozağaçlı’s father, Ayhan Kozağaçlı, was held over the weekend in the central Turkish province of Konya. During the funeral Kozağaçlı’s left hand was handcuffed to the right hand of a person in civilian clothes, apparently a measure taken by the prison administration to prevent him from escaping.

The treatment received by Kozağaçlı attracted criticism on social media, with many interpreting it as the punishment of a lawyer due to his critical views of the government.

A tweet posted by the ÇHD, which was closed down by the Turkish government in the aftermath of a failed coup attempt in Turkey on July 15, 2016, said: “Your handcuffs will not be sufficient. We will win.”

Kozağaçlı angered the government by representing two academics who were fired from their jobs by government decrees, victims of a mine disaster in Soma and many other persecuted people.

In a speech he made at the Ankara Bar Association’s general assembly on Oct. 16, 2016, Kozağaçlı revealed that people imprisoned as part of a government crackdown on the Gülen movement were being systematically tortured in the most barbaric ways including rape, removal of nails and the insertion of objects into their anuses.

According to data compiled by independent monitoring site The Arrested Lawyers’ Initiative, 555 lawyers have been arrested since July 15, 2016 and 1,546 were under prosecution as of January 24, 2019. Two hundred sixteen lawyers have been sentenced to a total of 1,361 years in prison. Some of the arrested lawyers were reportedly subjected to torture and ill treatment. Fourteen of the detained or arrested lawyers are presidents or former presidents of provincial bar associations. (SCF with turkishminute.com)

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