Turkish lawyer Kavili says subjected to ill treatment during incarceration over court defense

Ömer Kavili, a Turkish lawyer who was briefly arrested last week for a defense he gave during a hearing in an İstanbul court, said he had been subjected to ill-treatment during his detention, according to a report by the online news outlet Artı Gerçek on Sunday.

Kavili was defending members of the famous music band Grup Yorum during a hearing on Thursday and got into an argument with the judge in the courtroom. The police detained  him on Friday him following the row, and a court ruled to arrest him for defying the judicial system by “seeking justification in the case through reverse psychology aiming to present himself and the client as victims.”

Many on social media criticized the reason for the arrest, citing “reverse psychology” as an over-interpretation. Kavili told Artı Gerçek it was a “first in the history of the practice of law.”

Evaluating an appeal, another court ruled to release him pending trial. “The judges and prosecutors are upset that I slipped through their fingers,” Kavili said.

“After the prosecutor ordered my detention, gendarmes attacked me and dragged me on the floor. Inside the cell, they put me on the floor and kneed me in the chest. Even though I had the marks of that ill treatment on my body, the prosecutor ignored them. I was later arrested,” Kavili added.

He also stated that the justice minister called him saying that he was sorry. “This is a threat to all lawyers and citizens,” Kavili said.

According to Turkey’s Progressive Lawyers Association (ÇHD) 572 lawyers have been put behind bars since a controversial coup attempt on July 15, 2016. The majority of the lawyers were arrested on charges of “terrorism” due to their alleged links with the Gülen movement.

The Turkish government led by President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has prosecuted 1,546 lawyers on overbroad charges based on questionable accusations that preclude the right to a defense; 590 lawyers remain under arrest, and 181 lawyers have been sentenced to jail terms ranging from three to 12 years, according to data compiled by the Arrested Lawyers Initiative. (SCF with turkishminute.com)

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