May 10, 2017
The Law Society of Upper Canada expresses grave concern about the dismissal of 227 judges and prosecutors in Turkey.
Reports indicate that on February 20, 2017, the Government of Turkey dismissed 227 judges and prosecutors as part of its ongoing investigations into the failed coup of July 2016.
Back in July 2016, directly on the heels of the attempted coup, the Law Society intervened on behalf of approximately 3,500 judges and prosecutors – 755 of whom were detained by Turkish authorities and 2,745 of whom were suspended by Turkey’s High Council of Judges and Prosecutors (the “High Council”). The number of judges and prosecutors arrested or suspended at that time amounted to roughly one-fifth of Turkey’s justice system. With this latest round of dismissals, the High Council has now relieved more than 3,886 judges and prosecutors from their posts since mid-July 2016.
Human rights organizations are concerned that the coup is being used as a pretext to stifle dissent. They have also noted in the past that there is no evidence to support the allegations that the judges and prosecutors who have been arrested and/or dismissed were linked to the attempted coup.
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 Independence of the Judiciary and the United Nations’ Basic Principles on the Role of Lawyers.