Grieving Selçuk Kozağaçlı, Chair of Progressive Lawyers Association (ÇHD) and a lawyer for People’s Law Bureau (HHB), who has been kept in jail since November 2017, recently attended his father’s funeral in handcuffs.
Handcuffed to a plainclothes gendarmerie, Kozağaçlı slowly approached his father’s (Ayhan Kozağaçlı) grave and crouched down to pay his respects. The fact that he had to attend the funeral wearing handcuffs drew a lot of criticism on social media.
Bianet reported that theInternational Association of People’s Lawyers (IAPL) commented on the situation as “the punishment of a lawyer just because of his critical views about the government”.
Referring to the arrest of Kozağaçlı in 2017 following a presidential decree to shut down many institutions, including ÇHD, the IAPL said, “Kozağaçlı angered the government by representing two academics (Nuriye Gülmen and Semih Özakça) who were fired from their jobs by government decrees, victims of a mine disaster in Soma and many other persecuted people.”
Commenting on Kozağaçlı being taken to the funeral in handcuffs, surrounded by approximately 80 gendarmeries, the People’s Law Bureau stated in a Tweet: “Extraordinary measures were taken. They [security forces] are all over the street. Selçuk’s morale is high as always. We have sent him all our friend’s greetings.”
ÇHD also Tweeted, saying, “Your handcuffs won’t be enough. We will win!”.
Many lawyers, who were members of ÇHD and HHB, were detained during police raids against their bureaus on September 12, 2017. Many were arrested on September 20 by the court. Kozağaçlı was arrested on November 13, 2017.
The next hearing for the lawyers will be held on February 19, 2019.