Turkey

Lawyer who mysteriously appeared says previously missing men are just fine

Koçer said she was also present while the men were testifying at the police department.

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A lawyer who represented in court two of four previously missing men who were allegedly kidnapped by the Turkish intelligence agency in February and were missing for four months has said the men are doing well and show no signs of torture, the Bold Medya news website reported on Thursday.

Bold Medya spoke with lawyer Neslihan Koçer, who represented the men on the day they appeared in court without the knowledge of the men’s families and when they in fact already had lawyers arranged by their families.

Yasin Ugan, Özgür Kaya, Erkan Irmak and Salim Zeybek have been in police custody since July 28. They were arrested on Aug.10 after appearing in court. They are suspected of having been kidnapped by the National Intelligence Organization (MİT) due to their alleged links to the Gülen movement and are believed to have been subjected to acts of maltreatment and torture during the time they were missing.

The families said they did not even know the lawyer’s name and saw her briefly in court.

In a phone interview with Bold Medya, Koçer claimed that Ugan and Kaya happened to meet her at the Ankara Police Department, where the men were being held in police custody, and asked her to become their lawyer.

Koçer said she was also present while the men were testifying at the police department.

The four men were prevented from meeting with their families, their family lawyers and a group of lawyers appointed by the Ankara Bar Association while they were under detention.

Koçer said she did not hear the two men saying they were abducted either at the police department or in court.

When asked about the impression of the families who said the men looked pale and anxious as well as losing lots of weight while they were missing, Koçer said she spent days with the men while they were giving a deposition and that both of them were doing fine. She said they even congratulated the lawyer on her birthday while they were in police custody.

Concerning the torture claims, Koçer said she repeatedly asked the men whether they wanted to file complaints against anybody and that the men said there was no problem and everything was fine.

The men disappeared after they were purged from their state jobs due to their alleged links to the Gülen movement

Gökhan Türkmen and Mustafa Yılmaz, who were also abducted in February, are still missing.

More than 20 people have reportedly been abducted by Turkey’s intelligence agency in a massive post-coup crackdown targeting Gülen movement followers in the aftermath of a coup attempt on July 15, 2016.

Turkey accuses the movement of orchestrating the failed coup, although it strongly denies any involvement.

Source: Turkish Minute

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