Our message on the occasion of European Lawyers Day


25th October
We, The Arrested Lawyers Initiative, sincerely congratulate your European Lawyers Day, today, 25th October is also the first anniversary of our initiative which was founded to speak up and struggle for the arrested lawyers. We are a group of Turkish lawyers who are forced to live in exile after the government mass crackdown on human rights defenders and lawyers across Turkey. 
Lawyers are the sine qua non of rule of law and fair, independent, impartial judiciary and also the most important and effective safeguard against torture and ill-treatment. Despite the 1st article of Turkish Attorney’s Act which says “Lawyers are the constituent component of the judiciary”, Turkish lawyers are under imminent pressure.
We would like to inform you about the situation in Turkey on the occasion of the European Lawyers Day.
There has been a relentless campaign of arrests which has targeted fellow lawyers across the country. In 77 of Turkey’s 81 provinces, lawyers have been detained and arrested on trumped-up charges as part of criminal investigations orchestrated by the political authorities and conducted by provincial public prosecutors. As of 25th October 2017, 552 lawyers have been arrested (since 15th July) & 1403 lawyers are under prosecution. So far,  39 lawyers were sentenced to long imprisonment. Some of the arrested lawyers were subjected torture and ill-treatment.

14 of detained or arrested lawyers are the presidents or former presidents of provincial bars associations.

All persecuted lawyers are being charged with terror-linked offenses such as being the member of the armed terrorist organisation or to run an armed terrorist organisation. Pursuant to Turkish Penal Code, these two offences require 7,5 to 22,5 years imprisonment.

So far,  39 lawyers were sentenced to long imprisonment. Erzincan 2nd High Penal Court sentenced lawyers Cemalettin Ozer and Talip Nayir who are (respectively) former president of Erzincan Bar Association and former board member of association 8 years 9 month and 10 years,  Erzurum 2nd High Penal Court sentenced Mehmet Güzel who is former president of Erzurum Bar Association and 4 other lawyer range to 1 and 13 years, Eskisehir 2nd High Penal Court sentenced 11 lawyers to range 4 to 12 years. Sivas 2nd High Penal Court and Adana 11th High Penal Court sentenced lawyers to ranging from 3 to 9 years imprisonment with the charge of being the member of the armed terrorist organisation.

In addition to these lawyers, at least 149 public (gov’t) attorneys & legal advisers, 108 law schools academics were dismissed with emergency decrees, most of them were also detained or arrested. As the most recent ring of Erdogan’s persecution chain, ten respected human rights defenders including the chair and director of Amnesty International Turkey Branch were arrested.

The Turkish government has also targeted Turkish lawyers’ right to free association. 34 different lawyers’ societies or associations have been shut down since the declaration of the state of emergency. Following their closing down by a government decree, all their assets have also been confiscated without compensation.

Also, 5218 judges and prosecutors were dismissed and they were subsequently arrested. There are still 2600 judges and public prosecutors in prison with nearly 680 of them in solitary confinement. (For our all reports go to https://arrestedlawyers.org/category/reports/)

We, the Arrested Lawyers Initiative, would be most grateful if you remember arrested Turkish lawyers and speak up against the ongoing persecution of Turkish lawyers on the occasion of European Lawyers Day.

Kind regards

The Arrested Lawyers Initiative


Categories: International Advocacy, Our Statements, Situation in Turkey

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