Turkey’s state of emergency measures continue for inmates arrested over Gülen links

Kazım Avcı during police detention.

Turkish judicial authorities have been maintaining the state of emergency measures for inmates arrested over Gülen links, despite the fact that the state of emergency was terminated in July, tr724 news website reported.

According to a petition submitted to the Ankara 4th High Criminal Court by prosecutor Erdinç Hakan Özdabakoğlu, the meetings of Kazım Avcı, a Gülen-linked convict, with his lawyer started to take place without measures such as “video recording of the meetings with relevant technical equipment [and] the presence of an official during the meetings” after July 18, 2018 when the state of emergency was lifted by the Turkish government.

However Özdabakoğlu, in his petition, asked the court for a continuation of the same measures, with a reference to the Turkish Penal Code’s Article 5275, which was amended by parliament after a failed coup attempt on July 15, 2016, in order to give judicial authorities more powers.

According to Article 5275, based on a prosecutor’s demand and the approval of a judge, the meetings of lawyers and terrorism suspects can be restricted for three months at a time if “evidence that indicates the suspect is still directing a terrorist group, sending orders or communicating with it through secret messages” is obtained.

The law also foresees the presence of a prison official at those meetings in order to confiscate any documents given or taken between lawyer and client. Moreover, the frequency or length of the meetings can be restricted.

In Avcı’s case the court approved the prosecutor’s demand and thus the state of emergency measures was once again implemented.

Sixty-four-year-old Avcı was sentenced to life in prison along with Hidayet Karaca, İlhan İşbilen and Alaeddin Kaya on charges of constituting the “brain team” of the Gülen movement.

The movement has been accused by Turkish authorities of orchestrating a coup attempt in 2016, although it denies any involvement.

Avcı has diabetes and a heart condition, and a medical report also indicates that he cannot use or control 68 percent of his body.

The same legal correspondence between a prosecutor and a court was seen in the case of İşbilen, who was previously a ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) deputy. The court approved the prosecutor’s demand to restrict İşbilen’s meetings with his lawyer.

Büşra Erdal, a journalist for the now-closed Zaman newspaper who was also arrested over Gülen links, revealed that after the state of emergency was lifted her first open visit in prison and phone calls were recorded by the prison administration as if the measures were still in place, during an interview with the ExpressionInterrupted website. (turkishminute.com)

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