SHAFAQNA- 22 police officials detained on Jan. 27 on charges of illegal wiretapping have been released after testifying to the prosecutor of the case and a court, while 2 officials were sent to jail pending trial.
A judge overseeing the case decided for the arrest of two police officials 46 hours after they and 12 others were referred by the prosecutor to the court for arrest. Lawyers for the suspects complained of violations, such as excessively long questioning that exhausted the detainees and a breakdown of the digital judicial filing system that erased tens of pages of testimonies.
Police raided homes of 26 police officials accused of illegal wiretapping on Jan. 27 and detained 24 of them. 10 were later released after having been questioned at the prosecutor’s office while the remaining 14 were referred to the court for arrest.
The lawyers say the operation is politically motivated, noting that the police officials were detained for a second time on the same charges even though they were released following their first detention in August. Lawyer Ali Aksoy criticized the Jan. 27 detentions, saying additions to the indictment of the case could have been made if there were new findings, instead of detaining the suspects of the ongoing case once again in dawn raids.
“There is no crime here. There is just a bad play being staged,” he said.
Lawyer Mehmet Şener Özterzi said his client, one of two police officials who were arrested, were questioned for 18 hours at the court. “This is probably a record in the history of Turkey,” he told reporters after the court ruled for the arrest of his client, Memduh Tosun.
He said the suspects were sleep deprived and exhausted from days of interrogation at the police, the prosecutor’s office and finally at the court. “Some suffer from high blood pressure, some are exhausted and trying to get some rest by putting their heads on desks to sleep,” he said, adding that the European Court of Human Rights has stated in its decisions that testimonies obtained under such inhumane conditions are not valid.
Lawyers also noted that the judge ruled for arrest even though most of the testimonies were erased due to a breakdown in the National Judiciary Informatics System (UYAP). The judge said the suspects could repeat their testimonies but the police officials and their lawyers refused, saying the suspects were too exhausted to do so.
Some of the lawyers and released officials also claimed that the suspects were questioned on the basis of tampered documents or documents that do not belong to the period of their term.
“The documents shown to our clients during the interrogation during the questioning were tampered with. Signatures on the documents were changed,” said lawyer Ali Aksoy. “This is against the law.”
One of the police officials released after appearing before the court, İbrahim Şimşek, accused the intelligence department of the İzmir police of “fabricating” documents. “Our lawyers will initiate legal action about this,” he said.
The Jan. 27 raids are another round in President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s campaign against supporters of US-based Turkish Islamic scholar Fethullah Gülen following a major corruption probe of Dec. 17, 2013, which were launched against four then-ministers. Erdoğan accuses Gülen of setting up a “parallel state” within the Turkish administration, especially in the police departments, and trying to topple him, blaming his supporters within the police and the judiciary for the corruption inquiries.