At the first trial of the case in which 20 attorneys are being tried, it has been adjudicated that all the detained attorneys would be released; among the 17 detainee of 20 attorneys are the Contemporary Lawyers’ Association’s (CLA) and the Legal Bureau of the People’s (LBP) chairmen, administrators and members. By the warrant issued for their arrest the attorneys Ahmet Mandacı, Aycan Çiçek, Aytaç Ünsal, Behiç Aşçı, Engin Gökoğlu and Selçuk Kozağaçlı have been arrested just after their release, and the attorneys of defendants have been battered by the police.

Ayça Onuralmış

The chairmen, administrators and members of the Contemporary Lawyers’ Association (CLA) and of the Legal Bureau of the People (LBP), 17 attorneys were detained on September 12, 2017 in the raids to their homes and offices; after 9 days in custody they were arrested and sent to the prisons of seven different provinces. It was adjudicated that because of their being at the prisons that are outside of the jurisdictional area, the detained attorneys would be tried using the Sound and Video Information System (SVIS) (right a year after their arrest) at the September 10-14 trials, which would have taken place in the Bakırköy Courthouse. But the adjudication responded by the public with a great reaction, and the attorneys’ one week hunger strike made the court set aside her order, thus the defendants were brought to the court.

The first hearing of the detained attorneys took place on September 10-14, exactly one year after their arrest. ‘Security’ and ‘the number of foreign and domestic attendants, families of defendants and attorneys’ were shown as reasons and and the trial that was held at Bakırköy Courthouse on the first four days was carried to the court hall at the Silivri Prison Campus on September 14 when the preceding judgment would have been given.

In the case pended by the Istanbul 37th High Penal Court, the detained attorneys Ahmet Mandacı, Aycan Çiçek, Ayşegül Çağatay, Aytaç Ünsal, Barkın Timtik, Behiç Aşçı, Didem Baydar Ünsal, Ebru Timtik, Engin Gökoğlu, Naciye Demir, Özgür Yılmaz, Selçuk Kozağaçlı, Süleyman Gökten, Şükriye Erden, Yağmur Ererken, Yaprak Türkmen, Zehra Özdemir, and the attorney Ezgi Çakır who trialed without arrest appeared in the court.

ALL THE ATTORNEYS HAD BEEN RELEASED

After the statements of the attorneys, the prosecutor gave his opinion and demanded the continuation of detention of 17 detained attorneys. But the court board gave the verdict of release of all defendants with judicial control for the reasons that “the nature of offense has changed, the detention is a precaution, the defendants are attorneys, the duration of detention, the jurisprudence of the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR)”, and decided that the next trial would be held on February 19-20 in the Istanbul Courthouse.

However, the next day, although it was holiday, with the objection of the prosecutor office, the very same court board issued a warrant for the arrest of 12 attorneys. Attorneys Ahmet Mandacı, Aycan Çiçek, Aytaç Ünsal, Behiç Aşçı, Engin Gökoğlu and Selçuk Kozağaçlı were arrested.

The court refused the arrest demand for the attorneys Ayşegül Çağatay, Didem Ünsal Baydar, Yağmur Ereren, Yaprak Türkmen, Zehra Özdemir.

Selçuk Kozağaçlı was arrested again for the reasons that “he has strong criminal suspicion for the accusations, the anonymous witnesses have not been heard yet, there are still fugitives, and the witnesses might be suppressed”.

JOINT DECLARATION FROM 36 BARS

36 bars, among them are Ankara, Adana, İstanbul, İzmir, Diyarbakır, Şırnak, Artvin, Tekirdağ and Trabzon reacted the verdict by a joint written declaration.

It is said that in the declaration: “The warrant of arrest for our colleagues, who were released in the morning hours, by the same court board, at the same day, is the exposition of the fact that there is actually no court board.” And it asks the following questions: “For what reasons did the board, which gave the verdict that our colleagues might free from the cells, change her mind in even less than 24 hours and renounce her decision? What has changed?” In the the declaration that underlies the necessity of the president and members of the court board to make an explanation to the public, it is said: “Are not the judges’ decisions reasoned? Are the opinions and decisions so unfounded that they can be changed suddenly? Is this really a court verdict? Thus, we, as heads of bars, are exposing the fact that there should be real judges and judgements at the chairs. Do not forget that most of things can be forgotten, but the injustice never; the consciences of our colleagues who are deprived of their freedom will always haunt you and the curse of injustice and unfairness will certainly badger you. Who is arrested are not indeed the attorneys, it is justice, human dignity and right of defense itself.”

 “WHAT HAS CHANGED IN SIX HOURS?”

The Republican People’s Party’s (RPP) Istanbul Deputy Mahmut Tanal reacted to the verdict from his Twitter account. Tanal asked: “The very same court board that gave the verdict has announced an arrest warrant by refuting their own release intentions and renouncing their own release decision in six hours. Law has completely become a toy. Why has an arrest warrant been announced again, what has changed?”

The Peoples’ Democratic Party, too, has expressed her reaction from her Twitter account as follows: “The CLA and the LBP member attorneys are being arrested once again. Tens of people have also been put in custody since in Ankara and Istanbul they protested the detainment of the workers. The ones who are insisting on their rightful struggle will win, not the ones who has transformed the country into a huge police station.”

Translation: Aydın Ördek