Police tear gas lawyers at Istanbul’s Çağlayan Courthouse

Police tear gas lawyers at Istanbul’s Çağlayan Courthouse

Özge Eğrikar - ISTANBUL
Police tear gas lawyers at Istanbul’s Çağlayan Courthouse

DHA photo

Istanbul police used tear gas on Aug. 7 against a group of lawyers who had attempted to read a press statement about lawyer Deniz Sürgüt, who is under arrest in the southeastern province of Şırnak.

Sürgüt, a member of the Istanbul Liberal Lawyers Association (ÖHD) who worked in Istanbul and was assigned to report on civilian killings in Şırnak, had been arrested by the police on charges of “being a member of a terrorist group” and “carrying hazardous weapons.”

His colleagues gathered in front of Istanbul’s Çağlayan Courthouse on Aug. 7 to read a press statement demanding his immediate release. 

The police told the lawyers it was forbidden to make a statement to the press in front of the courthouse.

The gathered lawyers opened banners and chanted slogans. In response, anti-riot police used shields and tear gas against the lawyers in an attempt to disperse them. Some lawyers were knocked unconscious by the tear gas. 

The lawyers were scattered by the initial intervention, however shortly after they gathered again and shouted slogans which led to a second intervention by the police. The tension increased when an unidentified civilian man made the “grey wolf” hand gesture – an ultra-nationalist sign in Turkey - towards the lawyers.

When a lawyer demanded the police stop the man, the police attempted to take the lawyer under custody, however his friends prevented his detainment. The lawyers then entered the courthouse and staged a sit-in, after which they dispersed while continuing to chant slogans.