Turkish lawyer Selçuk Kozağaçlı, former president of the now-closed Progressive Lawyers’ Association (ÇHD) who has been behind bars since November 2017 on terrorism charges, was handed down a sentence of 11 years, three months on Wednesday.
The İstanbul 37th High Criminal Court rendered the sentence for conviction of membership in a terrorist organization. Seventeen other lawyers received sentences of varying length.
Kozağaçlı angered the government by representing two academics who were fired from their jobs by government decrees as well as victims of a mining disaster in Soma and other persecuted people.
In a speech at the Ankara Bar Association’s general assembly on Oct. 16, 2016, Kozağaçlı revealed that people imprisoned as part of a government crackdown on the Gülen movement were being systematically tortured in the most barbaric ways including rape, removal of nails and the insertion of objects into their anuses. The Turkish government accuses the Gülen movement of masterminding a failed coup in July 2016, although the movement strongly denies the coup charges.