The Human Rights Association (IHD) issued a written statement today demanding the release of 60 lawyers and lawyers detained in Ankara. The statement is as follows:
“With an investigation initiated by the Ankara Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office, on September 11, 2020, a total of 60 people were detained, including 48 lawyers, 7 trainee lawyers, 3 dismissal judges, 1 dismissal judge candidate and 1 lawyer, and judicial proceedings are still ongoing. According to the information provided by the lawyers of the detainees, as understood from the questions asked of the detainees, the lawyers were identified with their clients and faced accusations of membership and assistance to an illegal armed organization just like them. In the first 24 hours of detention, a visitation ban was imposed and it was learned that the detention period would be extended.
“The lawyers who represent political prisoners and the lawyers of Progressive Lawyers Association (ÇHD) who do attorneyship for social cases have always been under the judicial pressure of political power holders and prevented from practicing their profession by detentions and arrests.
“After the attempted coup on July 15, 2016, hundreds of lawyers were taken into custody and arrested, especially by citing the Fethullah Gülen organization as the reason; hundreds of them have been convicted on charge of being members of an armed organization.
“With this recent operation of detentions, a new operation of intimidation against lawyers has been added to the political power holders’ attempts to disable defense with the law of multiple bar associations.
“It is unacceptable that lawyers who represent the defense by practicing their profession are criminalized by using the Anti-Terror Law.
“It cannot be the subject of a penal investigation whom a lawyer will defend, what he or she talked with the client during the defense and what tactic he or she will follow while preparing the defense.
“A lawyer is free to choose his or her clients among the people that the state considers to be the most dangerous persons just as a lawyers is free to determine different strategies to defend that person on the condition that he or she abides by the professional ethics.”