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Selçuk Kozağaçlı detained

Status: 
Released & re-arrested
About the situation

On 30 November 2017, lawyer and human rights defender Selçuk Kozağaçlı stated in an interview to Turkish newspaper Cumhuriyet that he has been kept in solitary confinement since his transfer on 13 November from Metris Prison to the 9th Block of Istanbul Silivri Prison.

About Selçuk Kozağaçlı

selcuk_kozagacli.jpgSelçuk Kozağaçlı is a lawyer, human rights defender and member of the People’s Law Office. He is well known for working on the “Soma Mine” disaster, the worst mine disaster in Turkey's history, in which 301 miners were killed. He is also the chair of the Progressive Lawyers’ Association (ÇHD), an association which focuses on the right to life and advocates for the prevention of all types of attack on fundamental rights and human dignity. The Progressive Lawyers’ Association was closed on 22 November 2016 by Statutory Decree No. 677 issued under the State of Emergency.

18 September 2018
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. On 14 September, 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. The Court confirmed the release of the remaining five lawyers, namely Yaprak Türkmen, Yağmur Ereren Evin, Didem Baydar Ünsal, Ayşegül Çağatay and Zehra Özdemir.

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.

Five of them, namely Engin Gökoğlu, Aycan Çelik, Aytaç Ünsal, Behiç Aşçı and Ahmet Mandacı, were detained on the same day. On 16 September, they were brought to the Istanbul Courthouse to give their statements on the arrest order and were arrested following the hearing. During the hearing, approximately 20 police officers from the anti-terror branch were present in the court room. 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.

Selçuk Kozaçağlı, one of the lawyers ordered to be re-arrested, was detained on 16 September and brought to the Istanbul Courthouse on 17 September to give his statement. He was heard by a different judge than the chief justice who is in charge of the case and had previously ordered their release. After a 10 minute long hearing, Selçuk Kozağaçlı was arrested. To date, six lawyers from the People’s Law Office have been re-arrested, and the re-arrest orders for six other lawyers are still pending.

7 September 2018
Detained lawyers to attend hearings scheduled between 10 and 14 September

On 5 September 2018, Istanbul’s 37th High Criminal Court ruled to allow all detained lawyers from the People’s Law Office to attend their hearings in person between 10 and 14 September 2018. The Court’s ruling followed the detained lawyers’ starting of a hunger strike on 3 September in protest against the Court’s initial decision to hear the majority of the lawyers through video call.

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. 17 of the 20 lawyers facing charges remain 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 executive team to its members, while three of them were charged with “being managers of an armed terrorist organisation”. The DHKP-C (the revolutionary people’s liberation party) is considered as a terrorist organisation in Turkey.

After the defenders had spent up to a year in detention, Istanbul’s 37th High Criminal Court had stated that it would hear the majority of the detained lawyers through video call. Only Yaprak Türkmen and Selçuk Kozağaçlı, who have been detained in İstanbul Silivri Prison since their arrest, were to be personally brought to the courtroom for the hearings. The detained lawyers refused to participate in the hearings through video call, and appealed the Court’s decision. However, the Court refused their appeal to be heard in person on such grounds as travel costs, the length of the journeys and security concerns during travel from different prisons to the courtroom. On 3 September 2018, detained lawyers of People’s Law Office began a hunger strike in protest against the Court’s decision, and two days after, on 5 September, the Court ruled to hear all the detained lawyers personally during the hearings. The hearings are due to begin at 10 a.m. on 10 September 2018 at Bakırköy Courthouse, and are scheduled to conclude on 14 September.

One of the charged lawyers, who is not in detention, stated in an interview with the online newspaper Bianet that the Court’s original decision would have violated the right to fair trial because the detained lawyers would not have the possibility to directly examine the evidence brought against them and consult with their lawyers during the hearings. She underlined that the video call system isolates suspects from the proceedings, that suspects can only see the courtroom during their testimony, and that courts continue hearings in many cases even if the suspect is unable to hear or see anything due to connection issues.

29 June 2018
Hearings scheduled for September

On 11 April 2018, Istanbul’s 37th High Criminal Court accepted the indictment against 20 lawyers from the People’s Law Office. The indictment claims that the People’s Law Office is a sub-structure of the Revolutionary People's Liberation Party (DHKP-C), which has been designated a terrorist organization in Turkey. The hearings have been scheduled for between 10 and 15 September 2018.

Between September and December 2017, 17 human rights lawyers from the People’s Law Office were arrested following orders from the Istanbul Peace Criminal Judge. Selçuk Kozağaçlı, Ebru Timtik, Didem Baydar Ünsal, Ahmet Mandacı, Aycan Çiçek, Ayşegül Çağatay, Aytaç Ünsal, Behiç Aşçı, Engin Gökoğlu, Ezgi Çakır, Günay Dağ, Naciye Demir, Süleyman Gökten, Şükriye Erden, Yağmur Erener Evin, Yaprak Türkmen and Zehra Özdemir were accused of transmitting instructions from the DHKP-C’s executive team to its members, while Oya Aslan, Barkın Timtik and Özgür Yılmaz, were charged with “being managers of an armed terrorist organization”. 17 of the 20 lawyers facing charges remain in pre-trial detention in a number of different prisons, far from their families and their places of residence.

Since September 2017, People’s Law Office has been raided by the police three times, on 12 September 2017, 18 December 2017 and 20 April 2018. A lawyer from the People’s Law Office stated that on 20 April 2018 the police entered into all 11 flats in the same building which did not belong to People’s Law Office and broke some of their neighbors’ doors.

Following almost a year of detention, the court will hear the majority of the detained lawyers through video call. Only Yaprak Türkmen and Selçuk Kozağaçlı, who have been detained in İstanbul Silivri Prison, will be personally brought to the court room for the hearings. One of the detained lawyers, Ahmet Mandacı, criticized in a letter to the Turkish newspaper Cumhuriyet that they would be questioned by video call rather than appearing before the judge. He further stated that he was not notified about the indictment although other lawyers in detention had been. On 20 September 2017, Ahmet Mandacı had been released under judicial control, but 10 days later he was arrested at the request of the Prosecutor’s Office.

A trainee lawyer who was arrested with the lawyers from the People’s Law Office, also sent a letter to Cumhuriyet and stated that the prison administration had banned him from any visitors for 100 months as he was protesting he and his fellow lawyers’ isolation. He also stated that he wrote several petitions to the Ministry of Justice, administration of Silivri Prison, Prosecutor’s Office and several courts to contest the solitary confinement of Selçuk Kozağaçlı and Yaprak Türkmen but the authorities responded that it was not under their authority. He further stated that while he had written letters to Selçuk Kozağaçlı the letters had not been given to him. Selçuk Kozağaçlı and Yaprak Türkmen have been kept in solitary confinement in İstanbul Silivri Prison since their arrest in September 2017.

30 March 2018
Indictment against lawyers from the People’s Law Office complete

On 27 March 2018, the indictment against the twenty lawyers arrested on  from the People’s Law Office was completed by the Istanbul Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office’s Terror and Organised Crime Investigation Bureau Prosecution Office and sent to Istanbul’s 37th High Criminal Court.

The indictment claims that the People’s Law Office is a sub-structure of the Revolutionary People's Liberation Party (DHKP-C), which is considered a terrorist organisation in Turkey. The indictment further claims that the People’s Law Office was established on the back of instructions from the senior executive board of the DHKP-C, known as the Central Committee.

The lawyers Selçuk Kozağaçlı, Ebru Timtik, Didem Baydar Ünsal, Ahmet Mandacı, Aycan Çiçek, Ayşegül Çağatay, Aytaç Ünsal, Behiç Aşçı, Engin Gökoğlu, Ezgi Çakır, Günay Dağ, Naciye Demir, Süleyman Gökten, Şükriye Erden, Yağmur Erener Evin, Yaprak Türkmen and Zehra Özdemir are accused of transmitting instructions from the DHKP-C’s executive team to its members, who are in detention, convicted, or active from outside.

For these reasons they were charged with “being members of a terrorist organisation”. The other lawyers, Oya Aslan, Barkın Timtik and Özgür Yılmaz, were charged with “being managers of an armed terrorist organization”.

Between September and December 2017, a number of human rights lawyers from the People’s Law Office were arrested following orders from the Istanbul Peace Criminal Judge. They have been accused of having ties to the DHKP-C. They are being detained separately in a number of different prisons, far from their families and their places of residence.

4 December 2017
Selçuk Kozağaçlı kept in solitary confinement

On 30 November 2017, lawyer and human rights defender Selçuk Kozağaçlı stated in an interview to Turkish newspaper Cumhuriyet that he has been kept in solitary confinement since his transfer on 13 November from Metris Prison to the 9th Block of Istanbul Silivri Prison.

In his interview, he indicated that he is deprived of correspondence and newspapers and that there is no television, radio or clock in his cell. He also stated that he was protesting his situation by chanting and hitting the cell gates. It is yet unclear how this information was provided to the newspaper.

Selçuk Kozağaçlı is a lawyer, human rights defender and member of the People’s Law Office. He is well known for working on the “Soma Mine” disaster, the worst mine disaster in Turkey's history, in which 301 miners were killed. He is also the chair of the Progressive Lawyers’ Association (ÇHD), an association which focuses on the right to life and advocates for the prevention of all types of attack on fundamental rights and human dignity. The Progressive Lawyers’ Association was closed on 22 November 2016 by Statutory Decree No. 677 issued under the State of Emergency.

On 8 November 2017, Selçuk Kozağaçlı was taken into custody in connection with a pre-existing case against the People’s Law Office, following a witness testimony given on 8 November 2017.

On 13 November 2017, he was falsely charged with “membership of an armed terrorist organisation”, namely the Revolutionary People’s Liberation Party (DHKP-C), and sent to Metris Prison.

On 15 November 2017, the People’s Law Office reported that Selçuk Kozağaçlı was transferred from Metris Prison to the 9th Block of Istanbul Silivri Prison, a special unit dedicated to “terrorists”. A trial date has yet to be set.

Front Line Defenders condemns the continuing harassment and imprisonment of Selçuk Kozağaçlı as it believes that this is a result of his peaceful work in defence of the rights of others.
 

14 November 2017
Selçuk Kozağaçlı charged with “membership of an armed terrorist organization”

On 13 November 2017, human rights defender and lawyer Selçuk Kozağaçlı was falsely charged with membership of an armed terrorist organisation, namely the Revolutionary People’s Liberation Party (DHKP-C), which is recognized as a terrorist organisation in Turkey, and sent to Metris Prison.

On the evening of 8 November 2017, Selçuk Kozağaçlı was taken into custody by a group of police officers as he made his way to a meeting with a number of Bar Association presidents and was brought to İstanbul Security Directorate’s Anti-Terror Branch.

On 13 November 2017, four days after his arrest, Selçuk Kozağaçlı was ordered to remain in pre-trial detention by an Istanbul judge as a result of the charges he faced. A trial date has yet to be set.

On 15 November 2017, the People’s Law Office reported that Selçuk Kozağaçlı was transferred from Metris Prison to the 9th Block of Istanbul Silivri Prison, a special unit dedicated to “terrorists”.

10 November 2017
Selçuk Kozağaçlı detained

On 8 November 2017, at around 10:00 pm, lawyer and human rights defender Selçuk Kozağaçlı was taken into custody and brought to İstanbul Security Directorate’s Anti-Terror Branch.

Download the Urgent Appeal (PDF)

On the evening of 8 November 2017, at approximately 10:00 pm, Selçuk Kozağaçlı encountered a group of police officers while walking to a meeting with a number of Bar Association presidents. The police officers stopped him, stating that there was a detention order against him, and forced him into a police vehicle.

On 9 November 2017, the Progressive Lawyers’ Association reported that Selçuk Kozağaçlı was taken into custody in connection with a pre-existing case against the People’s Law Office, following a witness testimony given on 8 November 2017. He has been on hunger strike since his detention, ingesting only water and sugar. He has stated that he will cease consuming water and sugar if he is not permitted to see a prosecutor within the next four days.

Front Line Defenders is concerned by the detention order against Selçuk Kozagaçlı as it is believed that he has been detained due to his work as a human rights lawyer.

Front Line Defenders urges the authorities in Turkey to:

1. Immediately and unconditionally release Selçuk Kozağaçlı, as Front Line Defenders believes that he is being held solely as a result of his legitimate and peaceful work in defence of human rights;

2. Take all necessary measures to guarantee the physical and psychological integrity and security of Selçuk Kozağaçlı;

3. Guarantee in all circumstances that all human rights defenders in Turkey are able to carry out their legitimate human rights activities without fear of reprisals and free of all restrictions including judicial harassment.