Turkish lawyer who went to police station to defend client in custody detained over Gülen links

A lawyer who went to a police department to defend another lawyer in police custody in Tokat province was detained by police the same day as part of the Turkish government’s massive post-coup witch hunt targeting alleged members of the Gülen movement.

Lawyer G.B. was detained by police as he went to the police department to defend another lawyer, identified as N.A., in police custody on instructions from the Tokat Chief Public Public Prosecutor’s Office. After their interrogation at the police department, both lawyers were referred to a court, which released them under judicial supervision.

Meanwhile, the Tokat Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office also issued detention warrants on Friday for seven jurists, including two judges, four lawyers and a rapporteur who had been dismissed from the Constitutional Court, over alleged links to the Gülen movement. Police detained five of them in raids in Ankara, İstanbul, Gümüşhane, Osmaniye, Sivas and Afyonkarahisar provinces.

The Turkish government has prosecuted 1,539 lawyers, arrested 580 and sentenced 103 lawyers to long prison terms since a controversial military coup attempt on July 15, 2016, according to a report released by The Arrested Lawyers Initiative in April 2018.

Turkey survived a controversial military coup attempt on July 15, 2016 that killed 249 people. Immediately after the putsch, the Justice and Development Party (AKP) government along with President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan pinned the blame on the Gülen movement.

Fethullah Gülen, who inspired the movement, strongly denied having any role in the failed coup and called for an international investigation into it, but President Erdoğan — calling the coup attempt “a gift from God” — and the government initiated a widespread purge aimed at cleansing sympathizers of the movement from within state institutions, dehumanizing its popular figures and putting them in custody.

Turkey has suspended or dismissed more than 150,000 judges, teachers, police and civil servants since July 15. On December 13, 2017 the Justice Ministry announced that 169,013 people have been the subject of legal proceedings on coup charges since the failed coup.

Turkish Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu announced on April 18, 2018 that the Turkish government had jailed 77,081 people between July 15, 2016 and April 11, 2018 over alleged links to the Gülen movement.

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