July 15, 2019
On 10 July 2019 the Dutch consulate in Istanbul hosted a special event in honor of the Lawyers for Lawyers Award given to lawyerSelçuk Kozağaçlı from Turkey. Kozağaçlı, who is currently serving a long prison sentence in Turkey, has accepted the award under the condition that it is dedicated to all lawyers and others who are in prison as a consequence of their work to protect the rule of law and human rights.
The event at the consulate was opened by consul-general Bart van Bolhuis, who emphasized that the consulate supports, and will keep on supporting, lawyers in Turkey who are under pressure, prosecuted and detained because of their human rights work. L4L-president Irma van den Berg handed over the award to mr. Kozağaçlı’s colleague and wife, Betül Vangölü Kozağaçlı applauding the dedication and courage of mr. Kozağaçlı and his colleagues. Mrs. Vangölü underlined that it is the responsibility of every lawyer to protect the rule of law and human rights, even if this is at personal risk.
The event was attended by the president of the Bar Association of Istanbul, mr. Mehmet Durakoğlu, other lawyers, and international observers from Greece, Italy, Belgium and Switzerland. The international observers were in Istanbul to attend the hearing in the so-called CHD-1 case, in which both Selçuk Kozağaçlı and Betül Vangölü Kozağaçlı stand trial.
The award ceremony itself took place on 23 May 2019, in the presence of Dutch Minister of Justice Ferdinand Grapperhaus, and more than 200 people including lawyers from the Netherlands and abroad. Serife Ceren Uysal received the award on behalf of mr. Kozağaçlı, as he was absent due to his prison sentence.