31 lawyers arrested in İstanbul over links to Gülen movement

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Thirty-one attorneys were arrested in İstanbul on Monday as part of an investigation into the faith-based Gülen movement, which is accused by Turkish authorities of being behind a failed coup last summer.

According to a pro-government Karar daily story, 31 lawyers were arrested by an İstanbul court while 14 others were released pending trial as part of an investigation in which 78 lawyers were detained for use of the ByLock smartphone application, considered by Turkish authorities to be the top communication tool among followers of the Gülen movement.

Thirty-three other lawyers remain in pre-trial detention, Karar said.

Critics, however, have lambasted the government for detaining thousands simply for using a mobile application.

A letter sent by Turkey’s Security Directorate General to all police units in the country last October told police officers to obtain confessions from individuals who had been detained due to their use of ByLock because mere use of the application is not considered a crime.

Tens of thousands of people, including lawyers, prosecutors, judges and civil servants, have either been dismissed or arrested for using the application. Critics say the use of a technological application is not a criminal activity nor is it evidence of membership in a terrorist organization.

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