HDP deputy asks about claims of detained lawyers' families getting 'ransom' calls for their release

A deputy of the pro-Kurdish Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP) has asked Turkey's Justice Ministry about claims that families of lawyers detained in Ankara earlier this month were getting calls asking for ransom in return for their loved ones' release. The unidentified individuals on the phone reportedly told the families that the lawyers will be formally arrested if the ransom is not paid.

Duvar English

Pro-Kurdish Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP) deputy Ömer Faruk Gergerlioğlu has asked the Justice Ministry about claims that lawyers who were detained on terrorism charges earlier this month were being held for ransom by police.

An Ankara police operation on Sept. 11 detained dozens of lawyers on charges related to U.S.-based Islamic cleric Fethullah Gülen, whom Ankara accuses for the failed coup attempt of July 15, 2016.

The Turkish government has sacked thousands of public servants with state of emergency decrees following the failed coup attempt of 2016, on the grounds that these public workers were related to the Gülen movement, deemed a terrorist group by Ankara.

"There are claims that money is requested for detained lawyers' release!!! What is going on [Justice Ministry?]" tweeted the HDP deputy, attaching a document that detailed the claims.

"Detaining lawyers has not been enough to silence the judiciary!" said the note shared by the deputy, adding that loved ones of detained lawyers had received ransom calls.

The note, written by a lawyer identified as Enes, said that detainees' loved ones were phoned by people who didn't identify themselves but gave exclusive details about the case.

"Your loved one will definitely get arrested, their defense doesn't matter. We want to help but there's a price," the ransom callers reportedly told lawyers' loved ones, asking for money.

The author of the note also said that even if the lawyers' cases weren't sealed, which they are, no third person should have such details about the court cases.

The lawyer added that "anyone who has solid proof of [terrorism charges] would take the legally correct action."

"If you don't have proof, you can't detain people! If detainees' loved ones receive threats and blackmail, that's not a rule of law, it's a rule of HOSTAGES!" the author said finally.

The Ankara Bar Association had said following the mass detentions earlier this month that it was unlawful to question lawyers' professional activities.

A vocal human rights defender, Gergerlioğlu often gets involved with cases of unlawful detentions, public servants sacked with state of emergency decrees and corrupt judicial proceedings.

Ankara Bar Association: Lawyers under investigation face rights violationsAnkara Bar Association: Lawyers under investigation face rights violations