February 24, 2017
The Law Society of Upper Canada expresses grave concern about the detention of Dr. İştar Gözaydın in Turkey.
Dr. İştar Gözaydın is a professor of law and politics and founder of the human rights NGO the Helsinki Citizens Assembly. She is known for her positions against capital punishment and mob violence in Turkey.
The Law Society recently learned that Dr. İştar Gözaydın was taken into custody on December 20, 2016, and formally arrested on suspicion of “being a member of an armed terror organization” on December 28, 2016. The charge is based on the alleged testimony of a secret witness and an intelligence report. Reports indicate that she is currently being detained at Şakran Prison in İzmir Province.
During her first days in detention, Dr. İştar Gözaydın was denied proper access to her lawyer. Although her lawyer was eventually permitted to see her, he has been barred from accessing the investigation file on her case. Additionally, to date, her husband has been refused permission to visit her.
While the investigation into Dr. İştar Gözaydın is based on allegations that she is connected to terrorist organizations, human rights groups believe that her detention is a form of retaliation for her human rights activities. As such, Dr. İştar Gözaydın’s detention is arbitrary and constitutes harassment.
The Law Society of Upper Canada urges the Government of Turkey to comply with Turkey’s obligations under international human rights laws, including the United Nations’ Basic Principles on the Role of Lawyers.
Article 16 of the Basic Principles on the Role of Lawyers states: