Progressive Lawyers Association president arrested by court on terrorism charges

Progressive Lawyers’ Association (ÇHD) President Selçuk Kozağaçlı, who was detained on Nov. 8 in İstanbul, has been arrested by a court on charges of membership in a terrorist organization following interrogation by a prosecutor, CNN Türk reported.

Kozağaçlı represents Turkish educators Nuriye Gülmen and Semih Özakça, who started a hunger strike to protest their dismissal under state of emergency decree-laws issued after a failed coup in Turkey last year. Özakça tweeted on Nov. 8 that along with other 15 lawyers, Kozağaçlı had been taken into custody by police.

Kozağaçlı, who has also represented 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.

The ÇHD was shut down by a government decree issued during the ongoing state of emergency following the failed coup attempt on July 15, 2016.

Eight lawyers have been under police custody since Nov. 1 in Kastamonu, and a lawyer has been in detention since Nov. 2 in Batman. According to the Arrested Lawyers Initiative, seven female attorneys were detained in the province of Erzurum last week.

According to data compiled by independent monitoring site The Arrested Lawyers’ Initiative, 555 lawyers have been arrested since July 15, 2016 and 1,433 lawyers were under prosecution as of Oct. 27, 2017. Sixty-two lawyers have received lengthy prison sentences thus far. Some of the arrested lawyers were reportedly subjected torture and ill treatment. Fourteen of the detained or arrested lawyers are presidents or former presidents of provincial bar associations.

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