Turkish government’s crackdown targeting defence rights of those under investigation or trial got a new blow with the detention of 6 lawyers in İzmir province on Friday.
According to a report by Bianet, Turkish police teams raided apartments, offices of lawyers from the İzmir Branch of Progressive Lawyers’ Association (ÇHD) and detained 6 lawyers on Thursday. It was reported that the lawyers have been working on the Soma Case regarding the occupational homicide in Soma mine, where 301 miners had lost their lives in 2015.
Lawyer Gökmen Yeşil, the head of ÇHD’s İstanbul Branch has said that the lawyers are being charged with “propagandizing for a terrorist organization” due to their posts on social media. The names of detained lawyers were given as Nergiz Tuba Aslan, Şule Arslan Hızal, Yemen Cankan, Emel Diril, Dinçer Çalım and Bahattin Özdemir. Also it was reported that detention warrant was issued for Lawyer Alihan Pilaf.
In accordance with the decision of İzmir 5th Criminal Judgeship of Peace, there is a sealing order on the investigation. An expression in the court order reads “with regards to the propaganda for the Revolutionary People’s Liberation Party/Front (DHKP-C), Communist Labour Party of Turkey/Leninist (TKEP/L) as explained in detail through solid evidence such as internet reports, examination reports correspondence of official units…”
Lawyer Yeşil has said that the detained lawyers have been closely following the soma trial regarding the occupational homicide in Soma mine, where 301 miners had lost their lives in 2014. “In the last hearing, the board of judges was replaced and a suspect was released. ÇHD lawyers filed a criminal complaint against the prosecutor, who demanded the release and also demanded recusation of the board of judges two days ago,” he said.
ÇHD was closed by government decree No. 677 dated November 22, 2016, along with 375 associations and nine media outlets. ÇHD’s 14 lawyers were also detained on September 12, 2017, two days before the hearing of Nuriye Gülmen and Semih Özakça who have been hunger strike to protest their dismissals from their duties.
Lawyers Didem Baydar, Şükriye Erden, Ayşegül Çağatay, Ebru Timtik, Aytaç Ünsal, Zehra Özdemir, Yağmur Ereren, Engin Gökoğlu, Süleyman Gökten, Aycan Çiçek, Naciye Demir, Behiç Aşçı, Barkın Timtik and Özgür Yılmaz have been behind bars since September 21, 2017.
Earlier, lawyers Özlem Gümüştaş and Sezin Uçar from Law Office of the Oppressed were also detained on October 26, 2017, ahead of the next hearing of Suruç trial, regarding the suicide attack killing 33 people in Suruç, Urfa in 2015, where activists, who gathered to deliver toys and humanitarian aid to Kobanê and were issuing a statement for the press, were targeted.
According to date compiled by an independent monitoring site The Arrested Lawyers’ Initiative, 552 lawyers have been arrested since July 15, 2016 and 1403 lawyers have been under prosecution as of October 19, 2017. It was reported that some of the arrested lawyers were subjected torture and ill-treatment. 14 of detained or arrested lawyers are the presidents or former presidents of provincial bars associations.