Musicians, lawyers sent to court

Musicians, lawyers sent to court

ISTANBUL – Doğan News Agency
Some 40 suspects, including 15 lawyers who were detained for their alleged links with the outlawed Revolutionary People’s Liberation Party/Front (DHKP/C) on Jan 18, were taken to court yesterday amid scenes of tension both inside and outside Istanbul’s Çağlayan courthouse. 

Police clashed with nearly 50 lawyers present in the courthouse to support their colleagues. Six lawyers and a police officer were injured, according to reports.

Anti-terror police raided dozens of apartments and offices on the morning of Jan. 18, in Turkey’s three largest cities of Istanbul, Ankara and İzmir, detaining 63 individuals suspected of “terrorism,” including activist lawyers and musicians.

The offices of the Contemporary Lawyers Association (ÇHD) and the People’s Law Office, which provides judicial support to victims in major contemporary human rights abuse cases, were raided by police.

Selçuk Kozaağaçlı, the head of the ÇHD, was immediately detained yesterday when his plane landed Istanbul’s Atatürk International Airport, after arriving from Syria.

The police searched for guns and bombs in Kozağaçlı’s office during the raid on Friday, according to police records.

“As a result of the search guns, explosives, materials to produce explosives, organizational documents or supplies were not found, for this reason nothing was seized,” the police record read, according to daily Radikal.

Support from CHP deputies
Protests continued outside the courthouse, with a group of nearly 100 people including main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) deputies Hüseyin Aygün, İlhan Cihaner, Mahmut Tanal, Melda Onur and Ankara Bar Association board member Erol Aras staging a protest.

“You are afraid of revolutionary art’s popularization. You broke our instruments, smashed our studios and computer,” Eren Olcay, a member of the leftist music band Grup Yorum whose members were also detained in the same raids, said in a statement to the press.

Mahmut Tanal, a deputy of the CHP said the detained lawyers were the ones defending helpless people. “This operation conducted against the lawyers is the job of a rogue state that violates the law,” he said.

The majority of detainees are considered human rights advocates who volunteered at an emergency call line to report police torture, ran workshops on how to act under police detention, or advocated in Turkey’s most controversial human rights abuse incidents including the case of Engin Çeber, Festus
Okey, Güler Zere and the Turkish Armed Forces’ botched air raid in Uludere.

The lawyers are accused of “transferring instructions from organization leaders in prison to militants.”