ELDH demands the immediate release of CHD lawyers from prison

Since November 2017 Selçuk KOZAĞAÇLI, the president of ÇHD, the Progressive Lawyers Association has been detained in pre-trial solitary confinement in the Silivri prison camp. He is suffering as a result of the isolation. His repeated demands for occasional contact with other prisoners have been rejected.

Selçuk KOZAĞAÇLı is accused together with 19 other ÇHD lawyers of membership  in a terrorist organisation (DHKP-C, the Revolutionary People’s Liberation Party/Front). Some of them are also charged with  leadership of DHKP-C. 8 of them are also accused in the ÇHD lawyer’s trial in which  22 lawyers are on trial. The trial started in December 2013, and will be continued on 24 October. The lawyers who are accused in both trials are accused of more or less the same crime, membership in a terrorist organisation, DHKP-C. Their trial is expected to start on 10th September 2018.

ÇHD is one of the two member organisations of ELDH in Turkey. Selçuk KOZAĞAÇLI himself is member of the ELDH Executive Committee. He has a high reputation outside Turkey as a human rights defence lawyer. In 2014 he was awarded the Hans-Litten-Prize by the German lawyers’ association Vereinigung Demokratischer Juristinnen und Juristen e.V. VDJ. The biggest German lawyers association Deutscher Anwaltsverein DAV wrote on occasion of his arrest in November 2017: “According to the DAV, the arrest of Kozağaçlı exemplifies a number of cases in which lawyers in Turkey have been arrested for defending their clients.”

ELDH has strong reservations about the ordering of pre-trial detention in respect of Selçuk KOZAĞAÇLı. He as well as 7 other defendants were accused of more or less the same charges in another trial which started in 2013; thus the principle ne bis in idem is violated. The prosecutor and the judge are also ignoring the fact that he was released from pre-trial detention in the other case about 4 years ago. If there were no reasons for pre-trial detention in the other case. involving more or less the same charges, there cannot be reasons for detention in the new case, furthermore there is no legal foundation for solitary confinement in his case.

The UN Human Rights Committee has declared that the use of prolonged solitary confinement may amount to a violation of Article 7 of the ICCPR (General Comment 20/44, 3. April 1992). The UN Committee against Torture has made similar statements, with particular reference to the use of solitary confinement during pre-trial detention. In 2012 the ECtHR ruled in Horych v Poland (Application no. 13621/08), judgment of 17 April 2012, that solitary confinement is a violation of Article 3 (prohibition of torture and inhuman or degrading treatment) if it is not justified by special circumstances.

ELDH therefore demands

  • the immediate release of Mr. Selçuk KOZAĞAÇLı and the other detained ÇHD lawyers
  • until their release the immediate end of solitary confinement
  • the termination of the procedure as far as the principle ne bis in idem is violated
  • the adequate compensation of all prisoners whose rights have been violated.

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