If There Is No Defense, There Is No Law:

Freedom to Detained Lawyers!

 

Lawyer Selçuk Kozağaçlı, the Chairperson of Progressive Lawyers Association (Çağdaş Hukukçular Derneği –ÇHD) that has been engaged in the struggle for rights and justice for years in Turkey, and 16 lawyers from ÇHD and People’s Law Office (Halkın Hukuk Bürosu) were present in their first hearing at Istanbul 37th Heavy Penal Court between September 10 and 14, 2018 and were released on September 14 at the end of the hearing.

 

IHD had issued a report on June 1, 2018 bringing up the impact of the deteriorating judicial pressure on rights defender lawyers under the state of emergency and demanded the release of all lawyers who had been subjected to investigations and prosecutions and had been detained pending trial because of their professional, defense, and human rights activities. [1]

 

The illegality of the detention of 17 lawyers was also penned in the grounds for their release: The probability of a change in the qualification and nature of the offense, i.e. the belief that those being prosecuted did not commit an offense, the ECtHR criteria for detention and its violation judgments, and the fact that the suspects were lawyers.

 

Many a figure from the legal community appreciated these grounds however an arrest warrant was issued for 12 lawyers upon the objection of the prosecutor’s office to the release order and the endorsement of this objection by the same court. Lawyer Selçuk Kozağaçlı who of his own volition went to the courthouse and 5 lawyers were detained upon this ruling.

 

It is seen that the power to object to release orders that went into effect under Article 93 of the Emergency Decree No. 696 dated November 20, 2017 paved the way for the law enforcement to be able to directly intervene with the judiciary.

 

The fact that the same judges issued arrest warrants once again in less than 24 hours after the release order has once more revealed the ways in which the judiciary has been put under pressure, that it has even been working within an order-command relationship rather than pressure, that politics has had total domination over the judiciary, and the judges have lost their independence.

 

Judges should remember that law and justice would be necessary for everyone one day in the rapidly changing politics of Turkey. IHD calls on the Ministry of Justice to take action in order to keep the judges away from any kind of pressure.

 

IHD also calls on the public to be more responsive against this unlawfulness and demands that all the detained lawyers should immediately be released.

 

[1] http://ihd.org.tr/en/index.php/2018/07/25/lawyers-under-judiciary-pressure/

 

 

 

 

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