Officers hit lawyers from help hotline

Officers hit lawyers from help hotline

Officers hit lawyers from help hotline

A group of people protest in Ankara with a banner reading ‘end police violence.’

Members of the Progressive Lawyers Association, who established a telephone hotline for victims of police violence called “İmdat Polis” (Help Police), have allegedly been violently attacked by members of the police force, after they tried to help workers claiming to have been barred by police during a protest in Levent. One lawyer’s wrist was broken during the incident.

On the evening of Sept. 1, officers from the Beşiktaş Police Office attempted to prevent 382 women workers, who had been dismissed from a textile firm, from making a press statement. Upon that intervention, the workers called the “Anti-Torture and Maltreatment Board Line,” a telephone line recently formed by the Istanbul Bar for those exposed to violence and torture. 

According to the claims, after lawyers arrived at the scene of incident, police used pepper gas and truncheons on both the demonstrators and the lawyers. One of the lawyers, Şükriye Erden, had her wrist broken due to truncheon blows from the police. 

Taylan Tanay, the head of the Istanbul branch of the Progressive Lawyers’ Association (ÇHD), was also attacked at the scene of incident during the clash. Speaking to the Hürriyet Daily News, Tanay said police had made threatening calls to them ever since the board started operating. 

“They both expose citizens to torture and maltreatment and attack the lawyers who are only trying to perform their duty,” Tanay said about the police, adding that these attacks clearly reflected the current situation in Turkey. 

“The group mostly consisted of women and children. Police used gas on the demonstrators without giving us a chance to speak. We also received our share [from the attack],” Tanay said, adding that the pepper gas used on him had damaged his health.

He also added that the Bar had written a note about the incident, and would be taking legal action as soon as possible. “We will defend the case as far as we can. If they think they will deter us from our values and beliefs by using force, they are wrong. Our board will continuously fight against torture and maltreatment,” Tanay said.