Lawyers convicted to long prison sentences (again)
15 November 2022

Lawyers convicted to long prison sentences (again)

Türkiye

Introduction

After a hearing of 5 days, the Istanbul 18th Heavy Penal Court in Silivri Court House sentenced 19 lawyers to prison sentences up to 20 years and 6 months in the so-called CHD-1 case. This case started in January 2013. Lawyers for Lawyers and many other legal organizations, including the Dutch organization Fair Trial Watch and the Amsterdam and Rotterdam Bar Association, have been monitoring many hearings in this case since then.

The lawyers are all members of Ҫağdaş Hukukçular Derneği (ҪHD, the Progressive Lawyers Association). Most of them also work for Halkın Hukuk Bürosu (HHB, Peoples´ Law Office). They have mostly been convicted for:

  • Being a member of a terrorist organization (punishable by article 314 par. 2 of the Turkish Penal Code)
  • Making propaganda for a terrorist organization (punishable by article 7 par. 2 of the Anti-Terror Law)
  • Resist and prevent a public official to execute his/her duty (punishable by article 265 par. 1 of the Turkish Penal Code)

The verdicts

The court issued the following sentences:

  • Barkın Timtik was sentenced to 20 years and 6 months

for being a member of and making propaganda for a terrorist organization, preventing a public official from performing his duties and participating in an illegal demonstration

  • Oya Aslan was sentenced to 16 years and 6 months

for being a member of and making propaganda for a terrorist organization

  • Selçuk Kozağaçlı was sentenced to 13 years

for membership of and making propaganda for a terrorist organization

  • Taylan Tanay was sentenced to 11 years and 3 months

for being a member of and making propaganda for a terrorist organization, of which 4 years and 2 months are suspended with a 5 year probation

  • Nazan Betül Vangölü Kozağaçlı was sentenced to 7 years and 11 months

for being a member of and making propaganda for a terrorist organization, of which 1 year and 8 months are suspended with a 5 year probation

  • Avni Güçlü Sevimli and Gülvin Aydın were sentenced to 7 years and 1 month

for being a member of and making propaganda for a terrorist organization, of which 10 months are suspended with a 5 year probation

  • Güray Dağ, Efkan Bolaç, Serhan Arıkanoğlu, Mümin Özgür Gider, Metin Narin, Sevgi Sönmez, Alper Tunga Saral, Rahim Yılmaz and Selda Yılmaz were sentenced to 6 years and three months

for being a member of a terrorist organization

  • Naciye Demir was sentenced to 4 years and 2 months, suspended with a 5 year probation,

for making propaganda for a terrorist organization

  • Özgür Yılmaz was sentenced to 1 year

for making propaganda for a terrorist organization

  • Şükriye Erden was sentenced to 3 years and 4 months, suspended with a 5 year probation,

for making propaganda for a terrorist organization

The cases against two lawyers, Günay Dağ and Zekir Rüzgar, have been separated from this case.

The case against Ebru Timtik has been dropped. Ebru passed away on 27 August 2020 after a long hungerstrike.

The convicted lawyers can appeal the verdicts at the İstanbul Regional Court of Appeal and after that at the Court of Cassation. We understood that it is expected that they will.

Several of the convicted lawyers were convicted before in the so-called CHD-2 case, in which 18 lawyers were sentenced to long prison sentences on 20 March 2019. In that case, Naciye Demir, Özgür Yılmaz and Şükriye Erden have already been convicted for membership of a terrorist organization to 9 years, 13,5 years and 12 years respectively. Their new sentences for propaganda come on top of the old ones, that have become irreversible. Özgür Yılmaz was in prison serving his first sentence at the time of the verdict.

Also, many of the lawyers have already spent time in prison in pre-trial detention. The time spent will be deducted from their sentences. Barkın Timtik, Oya Aslan and Selçuk Kozağaçlı were still in pre-trial detention at the time of the verdict, for 5 years and 3 months, 6 years and 2 months and 2 years and 9 months respectively.

The hearing

Representatives of Lawyers for Lawyers, Fair Trial Watch and the Amsterdam Bar Association were present at the hearing that took place between 7 and 11 November 2022. During this hearing the accused lawyers and their defense lawyers made their last statements.

On Thursday evening, the situation became tense, as the court decided that no defense lawyers would be allowed to speak for their clients anymore. At that moment, at least 10 lawyers still had to speak. After the security police was brought in in large numbers, the court room was cleared. The next day, again with a large police presence, the court first refused the request to speak of the defense lawyers again, but in the end allowed the remaining defense lawyers to speak for 10 minutes each and the security police left. When the defense lawyers finished and several of the accused lawyers had made their final statements, the court took no time to deliberate and immediately issued the verdicts.

At the last day of the hearing a statement of the international observers was read to the court by one of the defense lawyers. After the hearing, lawyers from Türkiye and the international observers gave a press conference.

Fair trial principles blatantly violated

This case is a supreme example of a case in which the principles of a fair trial have not been observed at all, which is all too common in Türkiye in the last 10 years. Lawyers for Lawyers will prepare a report about the case in which this will be detailed. Most importantly, the court has systematically refused requests by the defense to hear witnesses and to further investigate issues, while at the same time the accusations in the file were largely based on actions of the accused lawyers in the execution of their professional activities. As far as we have been able to observe, no proof of any criminal acts has been presented by the prosecutor.

Lawyers for Lawyers is shocked and saddened by these verdicts and the course of this case. Not only have the accused lawyers been subjected to a profoundly unfair trial, they have also been identified with their clients and prosecuted because of their legal profession. This, of course, is in violation of article 16 and 18 of the Basic Principles on the Role of Lawyers.

Lawyers for Lawyers will keep following this case and other cases against lawyers in Türkiye, and support our colleagues as much as we can in their quest to obtain fair trials and to be able to practice their profession freely and independently.

 

 

Meer nieuws uit Türkiye

11 November 2022

Statement: Delegation of 60+ International observers condemns court Judgment in prosecution of 21 Lawyers from ÇHD and HHB

Türkiye

Delegation of 60+ International Trial Observers Condemns Court Judgment in Decade-Long Criminal Prosecution of 21 Lawyers from ÇHD (Progressive Lawyers Association) and HHB (People’s Law Office): Delegation Warns That “The World is Watching” This week, we – more than 60

Lees verder
10 November 2022

Defending the Rule of law in Türkiye – A PEN Norway and Lawyers for Lawyers event

Türkiye

Last Thursday, Lawyers for Lawyers and PEN Norway hosted an Event on Türkiye’s rule of law and the situation of lawyers in the country. With an enthusiastic audience, the event provided many interesting insights from first hand witnesses. On Thursday

Lees verder
10 November 2022

Lawyers delegation from Europe and the USA observe the CHD trial in Silivri- The trial which already has lasted for 10 years

Türkiye

In 2013, ten years ago, a mass trial started against 22 lawyers, all of them members of the lawyers organisation Progressive Lawyers’ Association (ÇHD, Turkey) and of the Peoples Law Office (HHB). Since then up to three hearings have taken

Lees verder
24 October 2022

Lawyers for Lawyers monitored third hearing in trial of Berrak Çağlar

Türkiye

On 19 October 2022, representatives of Lawyers for Lawyers observed the third hearing in the trial of lawyer Berrak Çağlar who is accused of being a member of an armed terrorist organization, after expressing solidarity with her imprisoned colleague lawyers

Lees verder