Turkey orders detention of 108 more lawyers

The İstanbul Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office on Friday ordered the detention of 108 lawyers along with 18 others as part of a post-coup crackdown targeting followers of the Gülen movement, Reuters reported.

The addresses of 12 of the suspects could not be determined or records showed they had left the country, the statement issued by the prosecutor’s office said, adding that operations spread over 37 provinces to detain the remaining 114 people were continuing.

Meanwhile, Turkish lawyer Selçuk Kozağaçlı, former president of the now-closed Progressive Lawyers’ Association (ÇHD) who has been behind bars since November 2017 on terrorism charges, was handed down a sentence of 11 years, three months on Wednesday.

The İstanbul 37th High Criminal Court rendered the sentence for conviction of membership in a terrorist organization. Seventeen other lawyers received sentences of varying length.

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.

A report titled “Incarceration of Turkish Lawyers: En Masse Arrests and Convictions (2016-2018)” previously revealed that lawyers have particularly been targeted due to the identity or affiliations of their clients. The report reminded that the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) has observed “a pattern of persecution of lawyers representing individuals accused 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.” (SCF with turkishminute.com)

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