Decision to release lawyers quashed
Lawyers for Lawyers was concerned to learn that on 22 March 2016, the 2nd Peace Judgeship quashed the decision of the Istanbul 1st Criminal Peace Judgeship to release 9 Turkish lawyers. New arrest warrants were ordered for four of the nine lawyers.
The arrest and release of 9 Turkish lawyers
In the early morning of 16 March 2016, police raided the houses and offices of 9 lawyers in Istanbul, Turkey. After the search, lawyers Ramazan Demir, İrfan Arasan, Ayşe Acinikli, Hüseyin Boğatekin, Şefik Çelik, Adem Çalışçı, Ayşe Başar, Tamer Doğan and Mustafa Rüzgar were arrested and taken into custody. They are all members of the Libertarian Lawyers Association (Özgürlükcü Hukukçular Derneĝi – ÖHD). Against one more lawyer an arrest warrant was ordered.
There has not been given any justification for these arrests and searches. The case file on the arrests is confidential. Allegedly the lawyers are arrested on suspicion of having ties with a terrorist organization.
On 19 March 2016, after a hearing that lasted around 13 hours, the Istanbul 1st Criminal Peace Judgeship decided to conditionally release the 9 lawyers.
New arrest warrants for four lawyers
The prosecutor objected the decision given by Istanbul 1st Criminal Peace Judgeship. On 22 March 2016, the 2nd Peace Judgeship quashed the decision to release the 9 lawyers following a hearing that only lasted a couple of hours. The accused lawyers and their defense lawyers were not heard during this hearing. Arrest warrants were ordered for four of the nine lawyers.
Concerns about the judicial harassment of lawyers in Turkey
Lawyers for Lawyers and Fair Trial Watch are gravely concerned about the continuing judicial harassment of lawyers in Turkey. All the lawyers that were arrested represent the 46 lawyers who were arrested in 2011 on suspicion of “working for, or belonging to, a terrorist organization”. A hearing in the trial against these lawyers took place only one day after the arrests, on 17 March 2016. The arrest of their lawyers means that they are deprived from their legal defense. On 18 March, L4L and FTW called on the Turkish authorities to immediately release the arrested lawyers.
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