The Chief Public Prosecutor of Kahramanmaras issued a warrant for 24 lawyers to be taken into custody as a part of the crackdown against Turkish lawyers.
The President of Kahramanmaras Bar Association Vahit Bagci is among the suspected 24 lawyers.
Tuesday morning, 19 of the 24 attorneys were taken into custody and the remaining 5 lawyers are wanted. The President Mr. Bagci could not be taken into custody because he is still in Canada as a member of the Turkish Bar Association Association delegation.
The General Secretary of the Bar Association confirmed that there is a detention decision about the president of the Kahramanmaras Bar Association and added Mr. Bagci will return in Turkey in 18th of March.
Mr. Bagci is 12th president or former president of provincial bars who were taken into custody or arrested since 15th July. Other heads or former presidents of Trabzon, Siirt, Gumushane, Erzurum, Yozgat, Manisa, Erzincan, Konya, Aksaray Bar Associations were taken into custody or arrested.
Kahramanmaras Bar Association have 325 member lawyers, for 24 of them (including the president of bar) custody warrant was issued.
There has been a campaign of arrests which has targeted lawyers across Turkey. In 72 of Turkey’s 81 provinces, lawyers have been detained and arrested on various charges as part of criminal investigations pursued by the political authorities and conducted by provincial public prosecutors. Prosecutors issued detention warrant or indictment for 867 lawyers and 349 of whom have unfortunately been arrested.
Parliamentary Assembly of Council of Europe (PACE) critizes the “criminalisation and prosecution of human rights defenders and lawyers” and calls reform on Turkish Anti-Terror Law and Turkish Criminal Code in its report named “The Functioning of Democratic Institutions in Turkey.”