A Turkish judge was detained by police under the pretext of alleged use of ByLock mobile phone application, hours after ruling to release a group of Gulenists on pending trial, according to a report released by the Advocates Of Silenced Turkey (ASD).
The report, titled The Judicial Coup D’état, which focuses on The Turkish government’s crackdown on the independence of judiciary in the aftermath of the July 15 coup attempt, claimed that a judge named Mehmet Fatih Aksoy in Kırşehir province was threatened by a prosecutor for ruling to release a group of people prosecuted over alleged Gulen links.
“Following Aksoy’s rule to release, the prosecutor overseeing the case, threatened him with detention over so-called ByLock use. Hours after the threat, Aksoy was indeed detained by police under the pretext of alleged use of ByLock,” the report said.
Turkish authorities believe that ByLock is a communication tool among followers of the Gülen group, accused of mounting the July 15, 2016 failed coup attempt. The group denies involvement.
Tens of thousands of people, including civil servants, police officers, soldiers, businessmen and housemakers, have either been dismissed or arrested for using ByLock since the failed coup attempt on July 15, 2016.
In a related development, Hüseyin Aygün, a lawyer and former MP from the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP), took to Twitter on July 22 to claim that thousands of Erdogan critics have been investigated under the pretext of alleged use of the ByLock mobile phone application in the aftermath of the 2016 coup attempt, even though a large majority of the victims has never had the app on their phones
“A few months after the July 15 coup attempt, two police officers who were jailed in Sincan prison called me. I went there to meet them. They were among those who created the ByLock lists. They told me the following: Every morning, we were getting ByLock lists and we were organizing and sending them to the prosecutor’s office and. We then started to receive lists of names ‘to be added to the ByLock lists.’ Those people had not used ByLock but were included in the lists to be arrested,” Aygün quoted the policemen as saying.