Turkish hunger strikers’ lawyers arrested

All the lawyers at a leftist law bureau defending two prominent hunger strikers have now been arrested, opposition newspaper Cumhuriyet reported.

“Over a three month period, the People’s Law Bureau was raided twice and 19 lawyers have been judicially arrested,” Liberal Lawyers Platform member Sinan Zincir told the paper.

“In one night they were moved on to eight different prisons.”

The Hope Law Bureau and Law Bureau of the Oppressed, which also deal with the cases of left-wing opponents of the government, have also had many of their lawyers detained, the paper said.

The People’s Law Bureau defended Nuriye Gülmen and Semih Özakça, two hunger striking educators who were repeatedly arrested protesting in central Ankara after losing their jobs under state of emergency decrees. It is also known for taking on other prominent cases such as those of Berkin Elvan, a 15-year-old boy killed by police during the 2013 Gezi protests against the government, and some of the Soma miners, who were trapped underground in a 2014 mine collapse that killed 301 people.

“Mussolini had a saying that ‘if there were no lawyers I would run this country better’,” Berrak Çağlar, a lawyer at Hope Law Bureau, was quoted by Cumhuriyet as saying.

“We are living through days when that phrase is being embodied. They are arresting revolutionary lawyers. Why? In order that no-one speaks out against dozens of repressive actions.”