Turkish court upholds arrest of lawyers on terror charges

Four lawyers from the People’s Law Office (HHB), who were detained following a police raid at their office early on Thursday, have been charged by an Istanbul court on terror charges, Turkish media reported on Tuesday.

Lawyers Ebru Timtik, Aysegül Cagatay, Gorkem Agdede, Nadide Ozdemir, a lawyer’s brother Ozhan Aslan, HHB’s secretary Gulser Sarigul and a client named Kamile Kayir, who were at the office during the police raid, were detained on June 20.

The detainees from the HBB were on Tuesday brought to the Istanbul Caglayan Courthouse in Sisli district to give their statements to the judge.

Lawyer Timtik was charged by the Istanbul 37th Heavy Penal Court and sent to prison on terror-related charges following her testimony.

She was previously sentenced by the same court to 13 years and six months in prison on charges that include membership in an armed terrorist organization on September 20, 2017.

A number of lawyers from HBB and Progressive Lawyers Association (CHB), who were charged by the same court on terror charges in September 2017, were released a year later on September 14.

A prosecutor sent other lawyers from HBB, Cagatay, Agdede, and Ozdemir, to the same Istanbul court without taking their statements. The court also ordered the arrest of the three lawyers after hearing their statements around 3.30 pm on Tuesday.

While detainee Aslan, a lawyer’s brother was released by the court, secretary Sarigul and client Kayir were also remanded in custody pending trial.

The Progressive Lawyers Association (CHD) on Tuesday reacted against a decision by the Istanbul court to arrest four of their members on social media.

“You will not intimidate us through pressure, force and politically-motivated decisions! We will not surrender to fascism!” the association said in a tweet.

According to a report released this month by the Arrested Lawyers Initiative, 1546 lawyers have been prosecuted and 599  have been arrested following an attempted coup targeting President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s AK Party in 2016 July.

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