Turkey: People’s Law Office lawyers re-arrested

Between 15 and 17 September 2018, six lawyers from People’s Law office were re-arrested following a decision by Istanbul’s 37th High Criminal Court in Turkey.  On September 14, after a full week of hearings, the Court ordered the release of all 17 detained lawyers from People’s Law Office, who had been in detention since 2017. They were released the following morning. The Court then ordered the re-arrest of 12 lawyers less than 24 hours after its previous decision, after the prosecutor had contested the Court’s decision.

According to Front Line Defenders (FLD), between September and December 2017, 17 human rights lawyers from the People’s Law Office were arrested following orders from the Istanbul Criminal Peace Judge.  A total of 20 lawyers from People’s Law Office faced charges and 17 of them were kept in pre-trial detention in seven different prisons, far from their families and their places of residence.

17 lawyers were accused of transmitting instructions from the DHKP-C’s (the Revolutionary People’s Liberation Party)  executive team to its members, while three of them were charged with “being managers of an armed terrorist organisation”. The Turkish government considers the DHKP-C a terrorist organisation.

On 10 September 2018, the hearing for the People’s Law Office case began, and the lawyers facing charges were heard before the Istanbul’s 37th High Criminal Court over the week. On 14 September, the Court ordered the release of all 17 of the detained lawyers, and they were released early the following morning. After the prosecutor contested the decision, the Court reconsidered and ordered the re-arrest of 12 of the recently released lawyers on the same charges.

The lawyers’ request to remove the police officers from the court room was denied. The police officers in question had conducted the investigation against the lawyers and were involved in reported ill-treatment of the lawyers.

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