Member of the Court of Cassations Hüsamettin Uğur, who had been arrested just after the July 15 coup attempt, completed his 1000th day in his solitary-confinement cell in prison by April. Hüsamettin Uğur is one of the hundreds of  supreme court judges who had been blacklisted by the government long before 15th July 2016 to eliminate and reshape the judiciary according to the ruling party’s political interests. Mr. Uğur was among the judges who were targeted by Erdogan’s government because of their opposite decisions regarding judicial independence and rule of law. He was one of the participants of the protest in front of the Court where they were protesting the recent law through which the supreme courts in Turkey had been reshaped and all supreme court judges had been dismissed in order new ones to re-selected.[1] He also had opposed the law and shared his ideas with the public via his social media acoount.[2]

Dilara Uğur, daughter of Hüsamettin Uğur, who is a noted lawyer and the author of Tax Crimes (Vergi Suclari in Turkish), shared on her twitter account about what happened to her father just after the 15th July. Her words are as below:

“Mr. Uğur and many other supreme court judges were arrested in the morning of 16th July against the provisions of the Turkish Constitution and the statute regarding the procedures of prosecution about them. During the custody, they were given no food or water for the first 35 hours. After spending four days in custody, they were taken to the court for pre-trial hearing. They had been made wait and spend the night in the court halls with handcuffs on their wrists. Nothing was given to them for sleep, and they tried to have rest by leaning to each other.

After the judge ruled for their detention, they were sent to Sincan Prison. 30 detained were put in the same room planned for only eight inmates. Because of the lack of beds, they had to share the beds and tried to sleep alternately in order. On 9 October 2016, without informing them or their families, all supreme court judges were transferred to newly-built Keskin Prison in Kirikkale Province near Ankara. Since it was just completed, Keskin Prison was full of construction dirt, and the judges were sent there without cleaning. All judges were put in separate cells all alone. Since then, they have been residing in those solitary confinement cells. They had no water for the first two days, were not let use the courtyard. The judges have been under physical and psychological ill-treatment. As a few examples would given as follows:

–          Water cuts have continued since then.

–          During the cold months, hot water had been provided just one hour in a week.

–          The prison administration did not sufficiently run the heating system in winter.

–          While the other prisoners had enjoyed the social and sporting activities such as football and watching movies, the judges were deprived of such rights.

–          They were not given books for the six months, after when they have been allowed read only three books each month.

Mr. Uğur was kept under pre-trial detention for a long time; His first trial hearing was after 17 months. But this time, his defense was interrupted several times by the chief judge. Whenever he wanted to continue his speech, his microphone was switched off. On 28th February 2019, Mr. Uğur was sentenced to 10 years 6 months of imprisonment for “membership of an armed terrorist organization.[3]

The last sentences of Judge Uğur’s defense at the last hearing was a great summary of their story: ‘Oh you gentlemen having the power of accusing and trialing! Regardless the possible outcome, I had never let anybody or institution to intervene in my profession. For this particular reason,  I and my colleagues were announced as terrorists, dismissed, and detained in one night. Despite that our souls are free and we contunie our lives with honor and dignity. They selected you for your current posts after us just to abuse you for their political interests. I am not going to make any comment about you. Your verdict will be given by Turkish Nation and history.”[4]