Turkey is treating lawyers like terrorists and throwing them in prison

Borzou Daragahi meets lawyers, would-be lawyers and human rights defenders who are under threat from Erdogan’s campaign against anyone he can call an activist

Wednesday 05 May 2021 21:30
comments
<p>Unlu lost his daughter in a bombing, his wife a few months later, and last year his son fled the country after being pursued by Turkish authorities</p>

Unlu lost his daughter in a bombing, his wife a few months later, and last year his son fled the country after being pursued by Turkish authorities

As a 28-year-old law student and lawyer-in-training, Can Memis visited Istanbul’s main courthouse nearly every day. There, at the gigantic circular Caglayan judicial complex that is a veritable city within a city, he filed paperwork, assisted senior lawyers with cases, or just milled around with other trainees and lawyers.

So it was rather odd that Turkish authorities seeking to arrest him on national security charges one day last September stormed into his home and the upmarket law offices where he was employed. They could have just picked him up when he showed up at the courthouse.

After rummaging through his home and attempting to seize documents at the law firm, plainclothes and uniformed police took the young man away and charged him with grave national security crimes. He was locked up in prison, and publicly condemned as a terrorist. It all apparently stemmed from his affiliation with a campus leftist group seven years earlier. The searches yielded no weapons or incriminating documents.

Join our new commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies

View comments