September 22, 2017
German lawyers on Friday denounced conditions within the Turkish judiciary and voiced deep concern about the recent arrests of Turkish lawyers in the country.
“The situation of lawyers in Turkey is deteriorating from week to week,” Ulrich Schellenberg, president of the German Bar Association said in a statement.
More than 3,800 judges and public prosecutors were removed from office after the imposition of the state of emergency in July last year. This represents more than a quarter of the total of 14,000 judges and public prosecutors in the country.
A total of 14 lawyers were taken into investigative custody on suspicion of terrorist activities on Thursday by a court in Istanbul.
“Lawyers assume joint liability with their clients. It is a perfidious logic to say that anyone who defends an accused person must be bad himself,” Schellenberg said. There had been cases in Turkey where defendants had not found any defendants “because the lawyers are afraid,” he added.
The statements come amid tense bilateral relations between Turkey and Germany.
August 20, 2017
The Turkish judge sits in a busy cafe in a big German city. Thirteen months ago, he was a respected public servant in his homeland. Now he is heartbroken and angry over the nightmarish turn of events that brought him here.
The day after a 2016 coup attempt shook Turkey, he was blacklisted along with thousands of other judges and prosecutors. The judge smiles, sadly, as he recounts hiding at a friend’s home, hugging his crying son goodbye and paying smugglers to get him to safety.
“I’m very sad I had to leave my country,” he said, asking for his name and location to be withheld out of fear that President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s government might track him down. “But at least I’m safe and out of Erdogan’s reach. He cannot hurt me anymore.”
Germany has become the top destination for political refugees from Turkey since the failed July 15, 2016 coup. Some 5,742 Turkish citizens applied for asylum here last year, more than three times as many as the year before, according to the Interior Ministry. Another 3,000 Turks have requested protection in Germany this year.
June 19, 2017
The German Bar Association (DAV) has criticized the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR), which rejected applications concerning post-coup worker purges in Turkey on the grounds that domestic remedies had not been exhausted, Deutsche Welle reported on Sunday.
According to the report, DAV asked the ECtHR to ease the legal conditions necessary to accept applications from Turkey.
DAV Chief Ulrich Schellenberg, who criticized the rejection of applications from Turkey, said there was no working state of law in Turkey and that Turkey could not be compared with other European countries in terms state of law principles. Schellenberg added that the condition of exhausting domestic remedies had to be considered in a different light if one-third of judges and prosecutors were arrested in a short period of time and free advocacy could not be conducted due to oppression in a country.
A ruling by the ECtHR on last Monday turned down an application by a fired Turkish teacher on the grounds that he had not yet exhausted all domestic remedies. The European court referred to a commission that was announced by the Turkish government to review situations of state workers who have been dismissed by government decrees following a failed coup attempt on July 15, 2016, as a means of solution for Gökhan Köksal, a Turkish primary school teacher who had submitted a petition for the court to hear his case.
Turkey’s Humanitarian Crisis Brought The ECtHR Into Disrepute
May 10, 2017
The German Federal Bar (BRAK) and the German Bar Association (DAV) have voiced criticism with respect to the trial against Chinese human rights defender and lawyer Xie Yang. The trial raises serious concerns as to its conformity with international standards of rule of law.
„It is not in accordance with standards of rule of law to start the main hearing of criminal proceedings directly following the assignment of a defence lawyer to Xie Yang. This is rendering proper criminal defence almost impossible“, says the DAV President, Rechtsanwalt und Notar Ulrich Schellenberg. The human rights defender and lawyer Xie Yang had been detained since summer 2015. On Monday, the trial’s main hearing has been started in Changsha, in the central province of Hunan, China. Xie Yang is indicted for “inciting subversion of state power”. After his defence lawyer has been arrested just before the main hearing taking place, the court appointed an official-defence counsel for him.
„We have considerable reason to believe that Xie Yang’s case is used for providing a cautionary example. It is an unsettling coincidence to see the trial starting just now“, summarises the President of the German Federal Bar, Ekkehart Schäfer.
Currently, delegations of the German Federal Bar and the German Bar Association are staying in China on the occasion of the Sino-German Dialogue on the Rule of Law. This dialogue format is based on an agreement signed by both the Chinese and German government in 2000 and is serving the mutual exchange and co-operation in matters pertaining to law. ___________________________________________________________________________
Please contact for comments or further questions: Press spokesman Swen Walentowski, Tel.: +49 (0)30 726152-129, Office: Manja Jungnickel, Tel.: +49 (0)30 726152-139, Katrin Schläfke, Tel.: +49 (0)30 726152-149, Fax: +49 (0)30 726152-193.
April 28, 2017
The exhibit “Lawyers Without Rights: Jewish Lawyers in Germany under the Third Reich” opens on April 28 at the Louisiana Supreme Court Museum on Royal Street.
The exhibit tells the story of how Jewish attorneys and judges were persecuted in Germany when Adolf Hitler came to power in the 1930s. It has been shown in more than 40 cities in the United States.
“It’s a very compelling exhibit that has been exhibited throughout Europe and also throughout much of the United States, but this is the first time it has ever been brought to Louisiana,” Mark Cunningham, an attorney at Jones Day who brought the exhibit to Louisiana, said.
The exhibit started in 1998 as the brainchild of a lawyer in Israel who knew there was a list in Berlin of lawyers whose licenses to practice had been revoked by the Nazis. The regional bar in Berlin provided the list, researched individual stories and helped compose the exhibit. Axel Filges of the Berlin Bar took over the exhibit and many local bar associations added to it.
April 4, 2017
Detained human rights attorney and activist Nguyen Van Dai will receive an award from the German Association of Judges on Wednesday, making him the first Vietnamese awarded the honor for his work in human rights, RFA’s Vietnamese Service has learned.
A representative of Nguyen Van Dai will accept the award from the group known in German as Deutscher Richterbund (DRB), which is the largest professional organization of judges and public prosecutors in Germany.
Every other year, the organization bestows a human rights award on a judge, public prosecutor, or other lawyer for outstanding merit in the defense of human rights.
Former prisoner of conscience Pham Van Troi, a democracy activist and member of the Vietnam-based Brotherhood for Democracy, called Dai’s selection “wonderful news.”
Dai and other formerly jailed dissidents created the online group in 2013 to coordinate human rights activities across Vietnam and host forums in Hanoi and Saigon to mark International Human Rights Day.
“I think lawyer Nguyen Van Dai deserves this award,” Troi told RFA’s Vietnamese Service. “This is also a positive sign to promote democratization in Vietnam in the near future.”