18 lawyers defending jailed hunger striker teachers detained

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Turkish former primary school teacher Semih Ozakca (R) and Turkish academician Nuriye Gulmen sit in wheelchairs wearing facemasks on the 63rd day of their hunger strike during a demonstration to call for the authorities to give back jobs to public employees who have been dismissed from their positions by decree of law since the imposition of the state of emergency rule in Turkey, in Ankara, on May 10, 2017. / AFP PHOTO / ADEM ALTAN

A total of 18 lawyers for jailed hunger striker teachers Nuriye Gülmen and Semih Özakça have been detained just days before the teachers’ trial begins, the Cumhuriyet daily reported on Tuesday.

According to a statement from the People’s Law Bureau (HHB), 18 lawyers whose houses were raided by police were detained two days before the teachers’ trial is set to get under way.

Gülmen and Özakça, who are on the 188th day of a hunger strike, have been kept against their will in the Sincan Prison hospital since July 29.

The trial will start on Sept. 14 in Ankara.

The educators were on the 76th day of a hunger strike to protest their dismissal by a statutory decree when they were arrested on terror charges on May 23 in Ankara.

Gülmen and Özakça said their strike aims to draw attention to the situation of more than 150,000 dismissed state employees.

The Turkish government started a crackdown on the opposition in the wake of a botched coup attempt on July 15, 2016 and arrested more than 50,000 and dismissing or suspending around 150,000 judges, teachers, police and civil servants.

A total of 524 lawyers have been arrested and 1342 are under prosecution since the coup attempt.

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