Lawyers for the 24 workers who were arrested after protesting with thousands of other workers the inhumane working and living conditions at the construction site of the 3rd airport in İstanbul held a press conference. Informing the people about the process, the lawyers pointed out the insubstantiality of the reasons and evidence for the arrest.
In the joined statement released by the lawyers, it is explained that, both in the official report of the constabulary and the statements of the workers, the workers waited for the shuttle vehicles under heavy rain at 7.30 am on 14 September, protesting the conditions, and their demands and suggestions for a solution to their problems were rejected. It is reminded that it was on rejection that 10 thousand workers started to protest at the construction site, while it is stated by the lawyers that the constabulary reports filled after the midnight-raids at the dormitories of the workers concluded that “no elements of a crime” were encountered.
The statement maintains: “The workers were woken up to be taken into custody, beaten up in the presence of the employer’s representatives in containers, and forced to give statements with insults and threats, without informing their relatives, without being informed about what they were charged with, and without being reminded of the right to give statement with a lawyer. The European Court of Human Rights says that this practice is torture.”
The lawyers also underlined that the demands of the workers must be regarded as a denunciation, since criminal action must be taken against the employers who short-change the insurance premium, who do not provide a safe working environment, and who cause public loss by evading tax so as to short-change the premium.
Emphasising that the charges held against the workers did not reflect the truth, and that those charges were no reason for arrest, the lawyers said: “The evidence in the case is comprised of the images of workers standing, marching, taking photos or videos with their phones, cars with muddy footprints, the pictures of the doors of the dormitories smashed by the constabulary, and the WhatsApp chats started by the workers which contain no elements of crime. None of the elements of the evidence involves any piece of information to require the workers to be arrested. There is no concrete proof for any of the workers in the file. The investigating judge issued the arrest warrant without any solid piece of information or evidence.”
Stating that it is dead wrong to hold the workers liable for the door smacked down by the constabulary with a battering ram, the statement also mentioned that people like Hıncal Uluç, Fatih Altaylı, and Mehtap Yılmaz, who openly levelled at the workers, told lies about them, and even insulted them, would be facing criminal charges.
It was also explained that the workers were held in different prisons, which caused extra trouble for the relatives and families of the workers.