Derechos Humanos y Defensa de la defensa

Violation of the Rights to Defence: Prosecution of Lawyers who are members of the Association Ozgurlukcu Hukukcular Dernegi (OHD)

On March 16, 2016, lawyers ?rfan Arasan, Ay?e Acinikli, Hüseyin Bo?atekin, ?efik Çelik, Adem Çal??ç?, Ay?e Ba?ar, Tamer Do?an, Ramazan Demir and Mustafa Ruzgar were arrested. Their houses in Istanbul were raided by the police, in the course of an anti-terrorism operation that targeted more than 80 individuals in several Turkish cities.

Lawyers were accused of “membership of an illegal organisation,” reportedly for events that took place between 2011 and 2014. Authorities have yet to disclose the precise facts underlying the alleged offences, arguing Article 153.2 of the Turkish Criminal Code Procedure (No. 5271) requires that the case file remain confidential.

The UIA issued a press release condemning these arrests (see below).

On March 17, the arrested lawyers were scheduled to appear in defence of 46 lawyers prosecuted for their participation in the defence of Abdullah Öcalan, the leader of the Kurdish Workers Party (PKK). Having been arrested, they could not appear to defend their clients. As expected, the lawyers who could be present at this hearing said that they could not adequately defend their clients because of the absence of their colleagues.

On March 18 and 19, the ÖHD lawyers were released, on the basis that the evidence provided was insufficient and that detention was a disproportionate measure of restraint under the circumstances. The Public Prosecutor objected to this decision on several occasions.

On March 22, the Istanbul Second Criminal Court of Peace finally accepted the Prosecutor’s objection and ordered the re-arrest of lawyers Hüseyin Bo?atekin, Ay?e Acinikli, Ramazan Demir and Ay?e Gösteri?lio?lu. Mr. Hüseyin Bogatekin and Ms. Ayse Gösteri?lio?lu were re-arrested and detained that same day at the courthouse. They were released on April, 1.

Since April 6, 2016, Ayse Acinikli is imprisoned at the Bakirköy prison and Ramazan Demir, has been held in solitary confinement at Silivri prison. 

The UIA wrote to Turkish authorities to express its concerns (see below) and will join the actions launched by UIA’s members to support all the prosecuted lawyers and, particularly, Ayse Acinikli and Ramazan Demir.

The first hearing of the trial will be held on June 22.