Journalist’s lawyer brother tortured for demanding forensic report about July 15 coup attempt

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Nevşin Mengü (L) and Burak Mengü

Journalist and well-known TV news presenter Nevşin Mengü has said her lawyer brother, Burak Mengü, who on Saturday was detained, beaten and left in the middle of the street by men claiming to be police officers, was tortured at a police station for demanding forensic medical reports concerning a failed coup attempt on July 15, 2016.

Recalling that her brother has clients who were tried for alleged connections to the Gülen movement, Mengü wrote in her Tuesday column for the Birgün daily that his “crime” was probably to question the relationship between the Gülen movement and the government in court.

“[His ‘crime’ was] insistently demanding ‘some forensic medical reports’ concerning the night of July 15, questioning which written order was forwarded to the soldiers,” said Mengü.

“Some months ago, a group of police, or let’s say maybe we think so, detained Burak in the break between court sessions at Silivri, saying that they would take his statement. He was taken to a lawyers room at [Istanbul’s] Vatan police headquarters. I need to remind you that there is no camera in the lawyers room. Burak urinated blood for days and could not walk. He was beaten by a group of people who we think are police, without a detention warrant,” wrote Mengü.

Saying that Burak preferred to stay silent during that period, Mengü said that the events of Saturday showed that nothing is temporary.

Mengü detailed what happened to her brother on Saturday:

“Burak sent me a message on Saturday afternoon that ‘they came [to my] home.’ I asked if they were police, and he said ‘yes.’ They presented a badge kind of thing to Burak. This part, I think, is interesting. They did not take Burak’s mobile phone. They put him in a car, a Hyundai Accent, and left. Burak is used to a tense atmosphere due to the court cases he has. But he wrote me that he felt different this time. ‘It seems they will kill me this time,’ he messaged me. I tried to calm him down. When he wrote that they were not going to Vatan [police headquarters] because they took the second bridge [on the Bosporus], I told him we need to post a Twitter message. When his situation was seen on social media, members of parliament contacted the Istanbul chief of police. In the meantime Burak sent me another message: ‘They assaulted and left me in the street.’ They beat his back with a belt and left him in Dudullu.”

Underlining that after the situation appeared on social media, Deputy Police Chief Ali Tuna Coşkun called her and said there were no detention warrants out for her brother and that probably a gang wanted to get money from him. Burak then went to the police to file a complaint.

“The traffic cameras in the place where three ‘persons’ came to get Burak were apparently not working. Where he was left also out of range of the cameras. The car that took Burak could not be identified in Istanbul, where you can monitor every car every minute,” added Mengü.

At the end of her column Mengü asked who those people were who could easily take a lawyer and if they had any connection to the police, and added: “Who were the people who beat Burak at the Vatan police headquarters? Are there relations between those gangs and the government and Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu?

According to The Arrested Lawyers Initiative, between March 1-14, 14 lawyers were taken into custody in Ankara and Kayseri and a female lawyer was sentenced to two years, six months by an Adana court. The initiative reported that 99 lawyers were convicted, 579 arrested and 1,539 were prosecuted as part of a witch hunt launched by the government following the failed coup attempt on July 15, 2016.

Lawyer Kemal Uçar, known for his critical statements concerning the coup attempt cases, was arrested on March 14 after 11 days of detention as part of an investigation into the faith-based Gülen movement.

According to the reports Uçar, who represents some of the military officers jailed following the failed coup, was accused of representing arrested military members and sharing messages from his social media account which said that using the ByLock mobile phone application, making calls from pay phones and testimony taken while a suspect is in custody cannot be considered evidence.

“A prosecutor told me: ‘Kemal, you question military issues too much. You will be blacklisted as a lawyer for Fetö [a derogatory term for the Gülen movement].’ I said that ‘I am not [their lawyer]. Why would they arrest me?’ He said, ‘I’m not saying you’re a member of Fetö, but you shouldn’t be surprised if they arrest you.’ I said: ‘How can they do that?’ He took out his cell phone and said: ‘They can say that you use ByLock [a mobile phone application]. But I said that I don’t use ByLock. He said: ‘It’s not important. You will stay in prison six months, one year, and you will learn your lesson until you prove it’,” Uçar said on a recent TV program.

Uçar said on the TV program that 52 of 58 casings found in Taksim on the night of the coup were not fired by soldiers according to an official report.

On another television show Uçar said his client, the commander of the air force academy who was detained and taken to Ankara by the coup plotters, was a victim of the coup attempt in a court case in Ankara, while facing 92 life sentences in another coup case in İstanbul.

“In the file he was accused of sending air force cadets to Ankara as part of coup attempt preparations. But in reality, the order was given by not my client but by air force commander Abidin Ünal.”

Uçar also said one of his clients, an air force pilot, was accused in a fake voice recording of bombing the Turkish Parliament despite the fact that he was not flying a jet at the time of the recording.

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