Turkish police detain Progressive Lawyers’ Association head Kozağaçlı

Lawyer Selçuk Kozağaçlı

Turkish police have detained lawyer Selçuk Kozağaçlı, president of the Progressive Lawyers’ Association (ÇHD), that was shut down with a government decree under the rule of emergency, in İstanbul on Wednesday, thus the number of lawyers under Turkish police custody has increased to 17.

Eight lawyers have been under police custody since 1st of November in Kastamonu, and a lawyer has been under police custody since 2nd of November in Batman. According to the Arrested Lawyers Initiative, seven woman lawyers were detained in the province of Erzurum on Wednesday.

 

Kozağaçlı is the lawyer for famed Turkish educators Nuriye Gülmen and Semih Özakça, who started a hunger strike in order to protest their dismissal under state of emergency decree-laws issued after a failed coup in Turkey last year. Özakça tweeted on Wednesday that along with 15 lawyers, his lawyer Kozağaçlı was taken into custody by police.

Selçuk Kozağaçlı, who has also been representing the Soma Mine Disaster Victims and many other persecuted people, had revealed during the Ankara Bar Association’s general assembly on Oct. 16 2016 that people imprisoned as part of a government crackdown on the Gülen movement are being systematically tortured in the most barbaric ways including rape, removal of nails and the insertion of objects into their anuses.

According to data compiled by the independent monitoring site The Arrested Lawyers’ Initiative, 555 lawyers have been arrested since July 15, 2016 and 1433 lawyers have been under prosecution as of October 27, 2017. 62 lawyers were sentenced to long imprisonments so far. 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.

Former Justice Minister Bekir Bozdağ on May 2017 said more than 4,000 judges and prosecutors have been dismissed from judicial body over links to the Gülen movement and that none of the remaining judges and prosecutors have been left uninvestigated. However, according to the t24 news website, the government has dismissed 4,238 of Turkey’s 14,661 judges and prosecutors since July 15.

A comprehensive report by Stockholm Center for Freedom (SCF) titled “Turkey’s descent into arbitrariness: The end of rule of law” provides detailed information on how the rule of law has lost meaning in Turkish context, confirming the effective collapse of all domestic judicial and administrative remedies available for Turkish citizens who lodge complaints on rights violations.

In addition to jailing thousands of judges and prosecutors, Turkey has also imprisoned hundreds of human rights defenders and lawyers, making extremely difficult for detainees to access to a lawyer in violation of a due process and fair trial protections under the Turkish Code on Criminal Procedures. (SCF with turkeypurge.com)

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