Lawyers, judges, prosecutors agree to be searched at Istanbul courthouse
ISTANBUL – Anadolu Agency
Scuffles have erupted between lawyers resisting the searches and the private security guards after private security guards asked lawyers to pass through metal detectors. DHA PhotoLawyers, judges and prosecutors have eventually accepted being searched by x-rays and metal detectors at the entrance of Istanbul’s main Çağlayan Courthouse, as part of heightened security measures at courthouses following a hostage crisis during which a prosecutor and his two captors were killed.
The Istanbul Bar Association has stated that an agreement has been struck with the Istanbul Chief Prosecutor’s Office about the new security measures at the Çağlayan Courthouse.
The measures will be applied to all judges, prosecutors, lawyers and personnel who work at the courthouse, according to the statement.
Courthouse security has been hotly debated since March 31, when two militants with alleged links to the outlawed far-left Revolutionary People’s Liberation Party-Front (DHKP-C) took Istanbul prosecutor Mehmet Selim Kiraz hostage at the Çağlayan Courthouse. Kiraz succumbed to injuries incurred during the long hostage drama, while police forces killed Yayla and Doğruyol, riddling them with bullets.
Previously, lawyers, judges and prosecutors did not undergo body searches nor put their bags into x-rays while entering the courthouses until this incident. After private security guards subsequently asked lawyers to pass through metal detectors, scuffles took place between lawyers resisting the searches and the private security guards.
According to the agreement between the Bar Association and the Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office, lawyers will use ID cards with chips that will be provided by the Bar Association. All judiciary members and courthouse personnel will pass through a metal detector door, sensitive to explosives and guns only. All will have to put their bags into an x-ray machine. If the security personnel see any sensitive material in the bag, they will demand that the bag’s owner show its contents. If there is a refusal to show the material, entry to courthouse will be denied.
The Union of Bar Associations of Turkey (TBB) president Metin Feyzioğlu met with Justice Minister Kenan İpek on April 7 about the issue. After the meeting, Feyzioğlu told reporters that the two militants who took Kiraz hostage had entered the building not through the entrance for lawyers, but via a different entrance, thanks a private security guard who opened the door.
Meanwhile, lawyers in the southeastern province of Van protested security searches being done at a courthouse, and entered the courthouse without undergoing any searches on April 7.