Turkey: Torture, threats and attacks against human rights lawyer Aytekin Akta?



The Observatory has been informed about the acts of torture, threats and physical and verbal attacks against human rights lawyer Aytekin Akta?, a member of the Progressive Lawyers Association (Ça?da? Hukukçular Derne?i – ÇHD) and Lawyers for Justice (Adalet ?çin Hukukçular), while he was representing a Life Watch protestor detained by the Gendarmerie in Hatay province, in the region affected by the deadly February 6, 2023 earthquakes. The earthquakes caused the death of over 52,000 people, left thousands more injured and displaced millions in Turkey and Syria. This humanitarian crisis prompted President Erdo?an to enact a three-month state of emergency in the affected areas, which led to disproportionate restrictions to fundamental freedoms and abuses by law enforcement. The Life Watch protests are peaceful gatherings of Hatay residents who survived the earthquake that went on for several weeks against the dumping of rubble in various locations across the province without sufficient precautions in place and by putting public health at risk, particularly of those who live around the dump sites.

On April 4, 2023, Aytekin Akta?, who was in the earthquake region to provide voluntary legal support, arrived at the Ye?ilköy Neighborhood of Samanda?, a district in Hatay, after being informed that Gendarmerie officers detained a participant of the Life Watch protest, where earthquake survivors had gathered to read a press statement. Upon Akta?’s arrival at the protest location behind the Samanda?-Antakya Road in Ye?ilköy, he identified himself as a lawyer to the Gendarmerie and asked to see his client. The Gendarmerie first stated that his client was held inside a vehicle, but when Akta? asked whether the Gendarmerie had a detention order concerning his client as per the law, the Gendarmerie became hostile by insulting and roughing him up and denied providing information on the detention order.

After Akta? insisted that detention without the prosecutor order and interference with lawyers performing their professional duties are unlawful, both Akta? and protestors at the site were battered by the Gendarmerie, and forcibly removed from the area where the detention vehicles were. When Akta? started recording the violence with his phone, the Gendarmerie officers removed the name tags off their uniforms and took his phone. At least 10 Gendarmerie officers then attacked Akta? and dragged him to a more concealed location between vehicles. Officers tortured Akta? by beating him with batons, kicking and punching him, stepping on his neck with boots, dragging him on the ground, and twisting his arm by encouraging each other to “break his arm”, while insulting and threatening to kill him by saying: “This is the state of emergency region, we will kill you here and no one can do anything about it”. They later put Akta? in a vehicle where they continued to torture him, trapped him inside the vehicle and refused to release him, while violently detaining others at the protest site who witnessed the Gendarmerie’s attacks against Akta?. After approximately 30 minutes, the Gendarmerie released Akta?.

While he was gathering plate numbers and names of the officers involved in the attacks, Akta? was once again assaulted by Gendarmerie officers. This second attack ended when Akta? was able to escape the Gendarmerie. ÇHD filed a criminal complaint following these violent acts with the Hatay Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office.



https://www.gazeteduvar.com.tr/avukata-yonelik-jandarma-iskencesine-suc-duyurusu-haber-1613899 (TURKCE)

#Turkey#HumanRights lawyer member of @chdgenelmerkez & @adaletsosyalizm Aytekin Akta? was tortured & threatened by Gendarmerie while providing voluntary legal support in #Hatay
?We denounce these acts & all abuses under the 3-month state of emergency
?https://t.co/8vDmfiI14r pic.twitter.com/wY4EOaeOu6

— The Observatory (@OBS_defenders) May 10, 2023

? Jandarma taraf?ndan gözalt?na al?nan depremzedelerin avukatl???n? yapt??? s?rada darp edilmi?ti… Hukuk örgütleri Av. Aytekin Akta? için bir araya geldi:

? “Bu pervas?zl???n ve zulmün hesab?n? sormak ad?na suç duyurusunda bulunduk”https://t.co/QlSAzlMJrG pic.twitter.com/mWj9dntCJF

— ?leri Haber (@ilerihaber) April 17, 2023

#Turquie Des avocats (dont Aytekin Akta?) ont été torturés par des militaires, dénonce Beste Salman, présidente de la branche d’Izmir du CHD https://t.co/i2l28X1zZW

— Patrick Henry (@patrhenry) April 18, 2023

The annual report of @MarijaPBuric, Secretary General of the @coe underlines the attacks on lawyers. https://t.co/OXcrdIRimp@CCBEinfo @SRjudgeslawyers @IBAHRI @UIAdefense @ProtectLawyers @EuropeanCBA @fairtrials pic.twitter.com/lhwsZ5tpi2

— The Arrested Lawyers (@ArrestedLawyers) May 5, 2023

Ms @Dunja_Mijatovic of @coe: The Turkish authorities should put an end to the hostile environment affecting human rights defenders, journalists, NGOs and lawyers and stop silencing them by means of administrative and judicial action.https://t.co/WH9aqGLJHX

— The Arrested Lawyers (@ArrestedLawyers) May 6, 2023

Good news: All the defendants who are colleagues have been acquitted. Although it is a relief, this prosecution should never have happened in the first place.
More info is here: https://t.co/0lx41moMKf https://t.co/pB2mr3Yl4n

— The Arrested Lawyers (@ArrestedLawyers) May 1, 2023

Board of the Izmir Bar acquitted on all charges#Türkiye

On 24 April 2023, representatives of Lawyers for Lawyers observed a hearing in a trial against the ex-president and the ex-members of the #Izmir Bar Association.

Read more here: https://t.co/HaDM7I7cHv pic.twitter.com/a7SIqIxloZ

— Lawyers for Lawyers (@L4L_INT) May 1, 2023

ANNOUNCEMENT TO THE PRESS AND PUBLIC – 30.04.2023 by Lawyers’ Rights Centre of @VanBaro @UrfaBarosu @AgriBarosu @AdiyamanBarosu @BatmanBarosu @BitlisBarosu @gaziantepihm @hakkaribaroAHM @SirnakBarosu

On 25 April 2023, 134 people, including 19 lawyers…, as well as journalists,… https://t.co/TtwCBSkSRw

— The Arrested Lawyers (@ArrestedLawyers) April 30, 2023

6 more lawyers out of 25 who were taken into police custody have been released under a travel ban. @CCBEinfo @ProtectLawyers @IBAHRI @JusticeDefend @UIAdefense https://t.co/f2PsrV2W91

— The Arrested Lawyers (@ArrestedLawyers) April 29, 2023

Savunma biat etmez! #SavunmaSusturulamaz https://t.co/Kb2wLUf1CF

— The Arrested Lawyers (@ArrestedLawyers) April 28, 2023