The Lawyers for Justice group has prepared a preliminary report on the rights violations that took place on May 1, Workers’ Day. The report states that 452 people were detained, that the duration of arbitrary detention had been extended, and that lawyers were prevented from receiving information regarding detentions. Rights’ violations continued in May 4 as the lawyers that gathered at the Çağlayan Court House to make a statement on May 1 along with unions, associations and mass organizations were met with brutal police intervention.
The report prepared by the Lawyers for Justice group states that police intervention was more brutal this year following the coming into force of the Internal Security Package, and that there was an increase in rights’ violations. The numerous rights’ violations mentioned in the report include naked strip searches, and detention without official registration.
Violations listed in the report are as follows:
1. From 8 AM onwards, the passage of coaches coming from Avcılar and Kadıköy to Beşiktaş was blocked, and coaches were prevented from reaching demonstration sites on various pretexts.
2. Detentions began from 9 AM onwards, and no official detention list was formed until midnight. Since no information was provided to lawyers and the public about the number and names of the detained, the names of missing persons could not be determined.
3. Detention vehicles sent to local police centres were sent back to the Central HQ in Vatan, the duration of arbitrary detention was extended.
4. As detention vehicles went to other police centres at midnight, no information was given to lawyers regarding the names and numbers of the detained, and to which police unit they were being taken.
5. Judges and prosecutors on duty did not want to receive petitions of objection to the capture/detention decisions, stating they were not authorized. The lawyers forcibly submitted the petitions.
Prosecutor: I gave the order
6. Prosecutor Okan Özsoy, on duty for the night, said, “I gave the order, I am issuing a 4-day detention period, do not call me”, thus enacting the first implementation of the internal security law.
7. All women detainees held in custody at Çağlayan were subjected to naked body searches. Detainees were subjected to naked body searches upon entry to the Gayrettepe Police Branch as well. The practice was immediately stopped upon the intervention of lawyers. A girl taken to the children’s bureau was also subjected to a naked body search.
8. On May 2, the prosecutor dismissed the lawyers who were at the courthouse to file objections from his room, and he physically intimidated a female lawyer by walking up to her.
Request for arrest without taking statement
9. On May 2, the prosecutor dispatched a number of detainees who had exercised their right to remain silent at the police centre to the judge on duty without taking their statements.
10. On May 2, Semih S. and Orhan Ş. who were detained in Nurtepe were arrested on charges of “causing damage to public property” and “dissent to the law on meetings demonstrations”.
11. At the hospital where detainees were taken to receive medical reports, official reports were prepared by doctors by only asking the detainees “Are you fine?” in the vehicle they were being held; and without carrying out any examination of battery and/or injury or other medical check.
Mentally disabled person detained
12. A mentally disabled person was kept in detention despite the presentation of a health report, and was subjected to verbal abuse. This course of events was not included in medical examination reports.
13. Police officials at police stations said they had taken the decision not to speak with lawyers and abstained from providing information.
14. Hundreds of persons who were detained, were driven around in vehicles where they were beaten by the police, and were then released without any official procedure or being brought to a police station.
15. Minors detained on the morning of 1 May were held for hours in police vehicles at the Vatan Police HQ, and then dispatched to the Üsküdar Children’s Police Station at midnight where they were released.
Detained with handcuffed in warehouse
16. Adnan Özkaçmaz and 7 other persons were detained around 22:00 on 1 May 2015 on İstiklal Street, taken to an unidentified warehouse and held handcuffed.
17. Police assaulted some of the detainees in vehicles, and broke the arm of teacher Akman Şimşek.
18. Police attempted to trap the head of Lawyer Recep Sancaktar with a metal screen as he was trying to determine the registration data of the police officer who broke the arm of Akman Şimşek. Lawyer Sancaktar was taken to hospital.
Lawyers prevented from entering Police Directorate
19. Demonstrator Özgür Altunbilek was injured by a stabbing carried out by an individual named Sinan Şevket Balcı. While the detention period for hundreds of people attending May 1 demonstrations was extended, the attacker Balcı was released under a judicial control decision.
20. Plainclothes police officers sent to the hospital made repeated attempts to persuade Altunbilek to withdraw his complaint while he was in hospital. Özgür Altunbilek left hospital early and went home to fend off the pressure.
21. On 1 May 2015, between 19:00-21:00, lawyers of the detainees were not allowed entry into Vatan Police Headquarters; the blockage was ended only after persistent complaints.
22. A decision of restriction was brought by the judge for all May 1 files, lawyers were given no information on the matter, and lawyers were prevented from accessing the case files.
In Istanbul, according to the May 1 Lawyers for Justice group 452 people, and according to the Police Directorate, 408 people were detained. The Police General Directorate made a written statement yesterday (May 3) revealing that 10 of the 408 detained had been arrested, 173 had been released pending trial, and that procedures regarding 225 people continued.
10 of the 408 people who were detained were arrested as a result of inquests made within the scope of Article 33 of Law No. 2911 on Meetings and Demonstrations which was recently amended by Law No. 6638 known in public as the Internal Security Package. The amended version of the law stipulates prison sentences ranging from 2 years 6 months to 4 years for possessing fireworks, Molotov cocktails and similar handmade explosives, and iron balls, catapults, stones, chains and similar objects.
Police intervention at Çağlayan Courthouse
The May 1 Crisis Desk, the Confederation of Revolutionary Workers Unions (DİSK), Confederation of Public Workers Unions (KESK), the Turkish Medical Association (TTB) and the Union of Chambers of Turkish Engineers and Architects gathered today (May 4) in front of the Çağlayan Courthouse to make a statement on the May 1 detentions.
The police used shields to assault the lawyers who wanted to make a statement inside the courthouse and forcibly evacuated them.
CHP Istanbul Member of Parliament Mahmut Tanal and HDP Istanbul Member of Parliament Levent Tüzel, along with lawyers continuing their resistance against attempts to prevent their statement, met with Istanbul Chief Prosecutor Hadi Salihoğlu. The lawyers were issued permission to make a statement following the meeting, and the lawyers entered the courthouse after making a press statement.
HDP parliamentary candidates Şerife Erbay and Levent Tüzel, and HDP Istanbul Provincial Co-Presidents Ayşe Erdem and Cesim Soylu also attended the statement.
Libertarian Lawyers Association (ÖHD) President Sinan Zincir stated that they had been prevented from meeting their clients, saying, “Those who tortured our clients in detention are now carrying out torture to us lawyers in front of the court house”.
Progressive Lawyers Association (ÇHD) President Gökben Yeşil said that the detained had been subjected to police violence, and that 8 people had been held in a warehouse without any official records kept, adding, “If we lawyers and the public had not intervened, they would have been massacred just like the extrajudicial executions of the 90s and the 80s. These detentions are unlawful”.
Çerkezoğlu: We will file a criminal complaint
DİSK General Secretary Arzu Çerkezoğlu also made a statement saying, “Those who were detained on 1 May 2015 in an unjust and unlawful manner must immediately be released. As DİSK, KESK, TMMOB and TTB, the founding members of the 1 May 2015 committee, we hereby announce that we protest these unlawful acts carried out on 1 May 2015 and its aftermath by the police, and that we are determined to follow all legal procedures from now on. We will file a criminal complaint against all public officials, first and foremost the Prime Minister and the Interior Minister, who committed a crime by forcibly preventing the protection of citizens’ rights, and blocked the most basic freedoms of the people of Istanbul. We once again announce here that we will follow the process so that courts act in accordance with the law, without surrendering to the oppressive and intimidating policies of the AKP.”