Istanbul High Criminal Court sentenced Progressive Lawyers Association (ÇHD) chairman Selçuk Kozağaçlı and member Barkın Timtik to 12 years in prison as they faced terrorism charges along with 20 of their colleagues.
Oya Aslan, one of the detained defendants in the case, was sentenced to 10 years and six months in prison. The court dismissed the case against lawyer Ebru Timtik, who lost her life on a hunger strike to demand fair trial.
An earlier indictment against ÇHD had been prepared by prosecutors and police officers who have since been dismissed upon accusations of involvement with the July 15 failed coup attempt in 2016, Cumhuriyet newspaper reported.
The current case was filed in 2017, before the first case had concluded. The updated indictment was based on the same evidence as the first, while two more lawyers were added to the accused.
Lawyers who had been awaiting trial in prison, 14 out of the 22 accused, would have been released at the first hearing of the case, as the court ruled unanymously to release them. However, the case prosecutor objected on the same day, and a new arrest warrant ensured they remained behind bars.
An anonymous witness, identified with his initials İ.Ö., played a key role in building the case against the lawyers. In the final hearing, İ.Ö. told the court that he was “not aware” which trial he was attending, as he had been a witness in 141 separate cases. The man has prior convictions from armed robbery and assault, and it is not clear how he is related to the lawyers.