Turkey Remaining lawyers released from pretrial detention in KCK- and ÇHD trial
After the closure of special courts and the reduction of the limit of lengthy detention to five years on 18 March 2014, nine lawyers and one journalist have been released in the KCK-trial. They were detained since November 2011 awaiting the process against 46 lawyers of the suspects in the KCK trial. On March 18 2014 the defence team of the nine lawyers and the journalist pleaded for the suspects to be acquitted. The Court released the suspects from pretrial detention following this request, under the condition that they will not leave the country.
In the ÇHD lawyers-trial the remaining 5 defendants have been released from pre-trial detention after 14 months on 21st March 2014. In the CHD-trial 15 lawyers were arrested on 18 January 2013, also on suspicion of links with a terrorist organisation (CHD).
The Court considered in both cases that the suspects had a permanent place of residence and that enough evidence has been collected. The amount of time the suspects had already spent in detention also contributed to the decision to release the suspects.
The “Lawyers Trial” is not the only trial in which lawyers are prosecuted in the context of the ‘war on terrorism’ in Turkey. L4L also monitors the trial against members of the Istanbul Bar Association. Fortunately the President of the Bar Association of Istanbul, Ümit Kocasakal, and the rest of the board have been acquitted on 24 February 2014, but we were informed that the prosecutor appealed this verdict.
More information on the “Lawyers Trial”
On 22 November 2011, 46 lawyers were arrested on accusations of “working for, or belonging to, a terrorist organisation.” The Turkish authorities regard the KCK as the local branch of the banned Kurdish labour party PKK. The majority of the suspected lawyers was involved in the defence of Abdullah Öcalan. According to the office of the prosecutor, the suspects have communicated instructions from Öcalan to his supporters. The defence council of the lawyers states that there is no evidence of such a crime.
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