Tag Archives: Turkey

Turkey investigates chairs of 12 bar associations for insult due to statement on military operations

25/01/23

Turkish prosecutors have launched an investigation into the presidents of 12 bar associations across the country on allegations of insulting the Turkish state due to a joint statement they made against the country’s military operations in Syria and Iraq, Turkish Minute reported, citing the Media and Law Studies Association (MLSA).

The investigation was launched under the controversial Article 301 of the Turkish Penal Code (TCK), which concerns the crime of insulting the Turkish nation, state, the republic and the state organs, against the presidents of the bar associations including those of the southeastern provinces of Diyarbakır, Van and Mardin.

The presidents of the 12 bar associations made the joint statement last November in the wake of the airstrikes conducted by the Turkish Armed Forces (TSK) in northern Syria and Iraq against Kurdish militants whom Turkey accuses of terrorism.

In their statement the presidents of the bar associations called for an end to Turkey’s military operations in Syria and Iraq and said they must defend peace under all circumstances.

Diyarbakır Bar Association President Nahit Eren said there was no element of a crime in their statement and that the investigation aims to intimidate them into remaining silent.

The investigation file has been sent to the Justice Ministry by the Diyarbakır Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office as prosecutors need to get permission from the ministry for investigations under Article 301 of the TCK.

[…]

Afghan lawyers and judges in danger

24/01/23

Today, January 24, marks the Day of the Endangered Lawyer. As a Canadian lawyer I want to draw attention to the challenges facing some members of the legal profession in Afghanistan. Since the Taliban government assumed power in the country more than a year ago, the risk of retaliation and danger have only increased for many lawyers and judges, particularly women, advocates say.

For Nasrin (whose name has been changed to protect her identity), leaving Afghanistan was the last resort.

She had spent decades developing pioneering legislation and policies as a judge and legal advocate. When the Taliban took over in August 2021, everything changed. Facing death threats, she ultimately left. “I didn’t have any choice,” she told me. “I left my country, my house.” Now she and other legal activists are warning about the ever-increasing risks that lawyers and judges in the country still face and the need for countries like Canada to step up their efforts to help at-risk Afghans.

“If a woman wants to be a leader, like head of a court … it’s a very big position, but it is very dangerous,” Nasrin says.

Judges like Nasrin, as well as prosecutors, have been threatened with reprisals from the people they tried and the Taliban themselves. She is in contact with colleagues in the legal profession who remain in Afghanistan, and says the situation is worse than a year ago, as lawyers and judges fear for their safety.

“The first line is judges, the second line is defence lawyers and prosecutors … they are searching to find them,” she says.

The development of the Afghanistan Independent Bar Association (AIBA) in 2008 was part of a broader effort to build a non-governmental body that would regulate the legal profession and provide resources to support lawyers and access to legal services. But in November 2021, it was dismantled by armed Taliban soldiers and the Ministry of Justice gained possession of the AIBA’s database, containing contact information of members. The organization is now relaunching itself in exile, from Brussels.

[…]

https://www.thelawyersdaily.ca/articles/43037/afghan-lawyers-and-judges-in-danger

https://amu.tv/en/33506/

International Day Of The Endangered Lawyer: “We Strongly And Unequivocally Condemn The Repressive Tendencies Of The Taliban Government In Afghanistan Towards Lawyers”- Maikyau

https://lso.ca/gazette/news/day-of-the-endangered-lawyer-2023?lang=en-ca

https://charidy.com/AfghanWomen (PLEASE CONTRIBUTE!)

https://zoom.us/rec/play/WXkxEyYXv5ZAen7O2varh9Ki_B7qCitqQjoNfZxmRrIZ6cITp1qWQ2dVYg1gYRYVLDVbuCHwW8XY1E3J.ZdDtRYfefnwmvALj

https://www.irishlegal.com/articles/afghan-women-judges-were-hunted-by-taliban-before-relocating-to-ireland

https://intr2dok.vifa-recht.de/receive/mir_mods_00014968

https://www.americanbar.org/advocacy/rule_of_law/blog/just-security-article-lawyers-under-threat/

https://www.pbs.org/newshour/show/global-rescue-effort-tries-to-help-afghans-female-judges-escape-the-taliban-regime

https://www.lawgazette.co.uk/news/outrage-as-afghan-judge-denied-permission-to-enter-uk/5114917.article

https://punchng.com/nba-president-demands-end-to-extrajudicial-killings/

https://acrobat.adobe.com/id/urn:aaid:sc:EU:08f72d25-58c0-446c-888a-b56489eeb4da?viewer%21megaVerb=group-discover#DayoftheEndangeredLawyer

https://www.darivoa.com/amp/lawyers-in-Afghanistan-face-threats/6933046.html (DARI)

https://www.pashtovoa.com/a/us-special-envoy-for-afghan-women-says-will-stand-with-afghan-lawyers/6933080.html (PASHTO)

https://www.lextimes.fr/actualites/avocats-en-danger/treizieme-edition-consacree-lafghanistan (FRANCAIS)

https://www.tdg.ch/de-nombreuses-avocates-sont-menacees-de-mort-par-les-talibans-911401131682

https://lso.ca/gazette/nouvelles/journee-de-l%E2%80%99avocat-en-danger-2023

https://www.lexisnexislegalawards.co.uk/website/9292/shortlist/

Afghanistan: DAY OF THE ENDANGERED LAWYER – 24 January 2023

24/01/23

The FBE supports all those in danger in Afghanistan.  Since the capture of Kabul by the Taliban in 2021, the situation of lawyers, judges, and prosecutors in Afghanistan has worsened. Many were left stranded when Government evacuation efforts ended. The international  legal community campaigns to persuade governments to rescue legal professionals at risk. However, most governments evacuated their own nationals and those who had been employed by the respective Government or related bodies. Most Afghan legal professionals did not fall into either category, even though they had served those Governments’ interests by upholding the rule of law in their country. Many were actively involved in the prosecution of members of the Taliban and  are in great danger. The international legal community must act now to persuade more assistance to evacuate lawyers, prosecutors, judges and legal professionals at risk and to offer safe havens in their respective countries.

The FBE endorses the report of the Coalition for the Day of the Endangered Lawyer and urges all to implement recommendations in particular:

  • The international community, in their diplomatic efforts toward the de facto authorities in Afghanistan, are urged to ensure the maintenance of a free and independent legal profession, in order to safeguard fundamental rights, including women’s rights, the independence and integrity of the administration of justice, and the rule of law.
  • The international community is urged to take all necessary measures to ensure that the lawyers at risk who remain in Afghanistan can safely leave the country. In particular:
  • To immediately implement evacuation and resettlement programmes for Afghan lawyers remaining in Afghanistan or located in neighboring countries.
  • To ensure respect for the principle of non-refoulement at all times.
  • To make humanitarian visas available to enable Afghan lawyers in need to access international protection legally and safely.
  • To ensure that all States suspend deportations and summary returns of Afghan nationals to Afghanistan or third states.
  •  To ensure that all States thoroughly investigate allegations of ill-treatment of Afghan nationals, especially in the States’ border regions and in removal centers in their territories.

[…]

https://www.lawscot.org.uk/news-and-events/blogs-opinions/danger-to-lawyers-at-home-and-abroad-must-be-tackled-by-us-all/

https://www.nycbar.org/media-listing/media/detail/day-of-the-endangered-lawyer-afghanistan-2023

https://www.lawsociety.ie/gazette/top-stories/2023/january/international-day-of-the-endangered-lawyer

https://www.uianet.org/en/actions/13th-day-endangered-lawyer-focus-afghanistan

https://www.americanbar.org/news/abanews/aba-news-archives/2023/01/aba-president-statement-re-endangered-lawyer/

https://2k86.mj.am/nl3/9MUI9jpjAKJgvmFwBU6sEA (FRANCAIS)

London: a Human Rights Solidarity and Arrested Lawyers Initiative action

Brussels (Facebook, CCBE – Council of Bars and Law Societies of Europe )

Day of the Endangered Lawyer 24th January 2023 13th edition – AFGHANISTAN

24/01/23

The 24th of January marks the annual International Day of the Endangered Lawyer. On 24 January 1977, 4 lawyers and a co-worker were murdered in Madrid. Since 2010, this date is remembered as The Day of the Endangered Lawyer with the purpose of increasing awareness about lawyers across the globe who are being harassed, silenced, pressured, threatened, persecuted and tortured because of their profession.

The 2023 edition aims to shed some light on the challenges faced by lawyers in Afghanistan.

The fall of the Taliban regime in November 2001 prompted the reconstruction, reform and modernisation of the war-torn Afghan judicial system and the legal profession. In 2008, the Afghanistan Independent Bar Association (“AIBA”) was established. The AIBA administered the licensing and regulation of lawyers, promoted excellence and equal opportunity in the legal profession, trained future lawyers, and advanced the rule of law and social justice.

When the Afghan government fell in August 2021, two decades of progress were erased and the country’s judicial system collapsed. In November 2021, the Taliban’s Ministry of Justice issued a decree depriving the AIBA of its independence and its authority to grant licences to lawyers. Taliban forces started targeting lawyers who had previously worked on “sensitive” cases (e.g., cases involving the defence of human rights, including women’s rights, and other similar matters).

According to the AIBA, 7 lawyers have been killed since the dissolution of AIBA and 146 lawyers have been arrested or investigated.

[…]

https://www.aija.org/news/art311#:~:text=The%2024th%20of%20January%20marks,Day%20of%20the%20Endangered%20Lawyer.

https://www.jurist.org/commentary/2023/01/lawyers-and-the-legal-profession-face-extinction-in-afghanistan/

https://www.nycbar.org/media-listing/media/detail/day-of-the-endangered-lawyer-afghanistan-2023

https://tribune.com.pk/story/2397118/collapse-of-afghanistans-legal-system-is-human-rights-catastrophe-un-experts

https://www.lawsociety.ie/news/news/Stories/afghan-judges-speak

https://www.hilltimes.com/story/2023/01/23/progressive-afghan-women-in-dangerous-limbo-while-we-wring-our-hands-uselessly/361577/

https://www.cba.org/News-Media/Press-Releases/2023/Statement-from-the-CBA-President-Steeves-Bujold-on?lang=en-ca

https://www.camerepenali.it/cat/11783/giornata_internazionale_dellavvocato_minacciato_2023_24012023_-_focus_sull_afghanistan.html (ITALIANO)

https://www.cba.org/News-Media/Press-Releases/2023/Statement-from-the-CBA-President-Steeves-Bujold-on (FRANCAIS)

Turkey: Criminal lawsuit launched against perpetrator of smear campaign against woman human rights lawyer Jiyan Tosun

10/01/23

On 4 January 2023, a criminal lawsuit was launched against Adem Taşkaya, the co-president of Zafer Partisi (Victory Party), who had posted a tweet targeting woman human rights defender Jiyan Tosun and falsely accusing her as the perpetrator of the bomb attack in Istanbul on 13 November 2022. The woman human rights defender Jiyan Tosun filed a complaint against Adem Taşkaya and other unidentified perpetrators, seeking that they be named and prosecuted.

Jiyan Tosun is a woman human rights defender, lawyer and a member of Human Rights Association. She provides legal support to women and LGBTI+ survivors at the Legal Assistance Office against Sexual Abuse and Rape in Detention. Jiyan Tosun is the daughter of Fehmi Tosun, who was forcibly disappeared in 1995. The woman human rights defender has been seeking justice for her father and the other enforced disappearances together with Saturday Mothers/People.

On 4 January 2023, a criminal lawsuit was launched against Adem Taşkaya, who had posted a tweet targetting woman human rights defender Jiyan Tosun by falsely accusing her as a perpetrator of the bomb attack in Istanbul on 13 November 2022. He posted her photo, saying that “the bomber is a PKK lawyer, Jiyan Tosun”. Following the tweet, Jiyan Tosun and her family started receiving a high number of death threats, which ultimately led to their decision to leave their home. This prompted Jiyan Tosun to filea complaint with the public prosecutor against Adem Taşkaya and other unidentified perpetrators. Jiyan Tosun also requested to be put under a protection scheme, as she worried for her safety and security. The Kücükçekmece 20th Criminal Court of First Instance accepted the indictment against Adem Taşkaya, who is charged with offences of “insult” as per Article 125/2, and illegally disseminating personal data as per Article 136 of the Turkish Penal Code. The trial is set to begin on 30 May 2023.

[…]

https://www.frontlinedefenders.org/en/case/criminal-lawsuit-launched-against-perpetrator-smear-campaign-against-woman-human-rights

https://m.bianet.org/english/law/272416-far-right-politician-who-falsely-blamed-deadly-bombing-on-kurdish-lawyer-faces-jail-sentence

https://rm.coe.int/cj-av-2022-15e/1680a8ffbc

https://www.frontlinedefenders.org/tr/case/criminal-lawsuit-launched-against-perpetrator-smear-campaign-against-woman-human-rights (TURKCE)

https://www.dokuz8haber.net/savci-avukat-jiyan-tosunu-bombaci-olarak-lanse-eden-zafer-partili-taskaya-hakkinda-ceza-istedi

https://t24.com.tr/haber/taksim-saldirisinin-ardindan-avukat-jiyan-tosun-u-hedef-gosteren-zafer-partili-adem-taskaya-ya-hapis-istemi,1083171

https://www.frontlinedefenders.org/fr/case/death-threats-against-woman-human-rights-defender-and-lawyer-jiyan-tosun (FRANCAIS)

https://camerepenali.it/cat/11756/la_dichiarazione_della_piattaforma_per_una_magistratura_indipendente_in_turchia_sui_processi_di_massa_agli_avvocati_di_ankara.html (ITALIANO)

Turkey: Statement on mass trials of Ankara lawyers

29/12/22

The Platform for an Independent Judiciary in Turkey expresses its concern and calls for the
attention of the international community on the mass trials against lawyers that are going on in
Turkey.


On 4-6 January 2023 the last hearings of a retrial are scheduled before the Ankara Regional
Appeal Court (22nd Penal Chamber, docket no: 2022/311). These proceedings concern 21
members of the Ankara Bar Association which started with the intervention of the Prosecutor’s
office and the police raids in 2016. Before the Court of Cassation ordered a new trial in March
2022, the defendants had been sentenced in first instance and appeal to prison terms ranging
from more than six years to well over eight years.1 2


These lawyers clearly face persecution only due to their role as defence counsels for persons
who face criminal prosecution because of the alleged membership of a terrorist organization.3


This last development sadly confirms a trend already pointed out in the 2020 report by the
Commissioner for human rights of the Council of Europe (CommDH(2020)1), highlighting an
increasingly suspicious and hostile attitude towards lawyers who play an active role as human
rights defenders and the chilling effect for the entire profession caused by numerous judicial
actions specifically targeting lawyers, where acts that form part and parcel of their profession
were admitted as evidence.


We call to mind here the numerous international standards that stress the crucial role lawyers
have in order to guarantee the fairness of the judicial system, and more generally, in the
protection and defense of human rights and thus also – if necessary – by bringing the violations
of these rights to daylight.

[…]

Syria/Turkey: Turkish Intelligence arrest and murder lawyer in Afrin

21/12/22

SOHR activists have reported that Turkish Intelligence arrested the 45 year-old lawyer “Luqman Hanan Bin Hamid” from inside his house in Al-Mahmoudiyah neighbourhood in Afrin city, where he was taken to an unknown destination.

The lawyer hails from Dalanly village in Maabatly district in Afrin countryside north eastern of Aleppo and he suffers a chronic disease, where he was arbitrarily arrested without any known crimes, and his fate remain unknown.

It is worth noting that the lawyer was previously arrested by the Turkish Intelligence.

Lawyers of the Turkish authorities and human rights organizations appealed to reveal the fate of the arrested lawyer and other detainees inside the prison of the Turkish authorities, and demand the instant release of the detainees.

[…]

https://www.kurdistan24.net/en/story/30270-Lawyer-dies-under-torture-in-Afrin

Turkey: Judicial harassment and upcoming trial of rights lawyer Elif Tirenç İpek Ulaş

21/12/22

[…]

The Observatory has been informed about the judicial harassment and upcoming trial hearing of Ms Elif Tirenç İpek Ulaş, a lawyer, women’s rights defender and board member of the Rosa Women’s Association (Rosa Kadın Derneği). Rosa Women’s Association is a civil society organisation focusing on violence against women and women’s rights in Diyarbakır and overall South-Eastern region in Turkey. The Association has supported more than 160 women who survived from violence.

On December 22, 2022, the eighth hearing in the ongoing trial of Elif Tirenç İpek Ulaş on the charge of “membership to an armed terrorist organisation” (Article 314/2 of the Turkish Penal Code) will be held before the Diyarbakır 8th Heavy Penal Court. If convicted, Elif Tirenç İpek Ulaş could face up to 10 years of imprisonment.

The case against Elif Tirenç İpek Ulaş began in May 2020, when Diyarbakır prosecution authorities launched investigations into members of Rosa Women’s Association. The authorities then divided individual cases per person and the investigation against Elif Tirenç İpek Ulaş initiated in August 2020.

According to the indictment drawn up by the Diyarbakır Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office, the charges relate to the allegation that Rosa Women’s Association would praise and defend the activities and principles of the Kurdistan Labour Party (PKK), which would make members and board members of the Association members of an armed terrorist organisation.

Apart from the general allegations against the association, the indictment against Elif Tirenç İpek Ulaş presents only one anonymous witness statement as the basis of her alleged “membership to an armed terrorist organisation”. This anonymous statement alleges that, as an attorney, Elif Tirenç İpek Ulaş regularly visits women prisoners convicted for terrorism-related charges, financially assists them, and provides them communication with the PKK and the outer world. Elif Tirenç İpek Ulaş denied these allegations, explaining that the aim of Rosa Women’s Association is to advocate to put an end to violence against women, and that she did not carry any prison visit in the last three years nor is familiar with any of the women prisoners the anonymous witness mentioned. So far, Diyarbakır 8th Heavy Penal Court did not inquire into the allegations and defences of the parties.

[…]

https://www.omct.org/en/resources/urgent-interventions/t%C3%BCrkiye-judicial-harassment-and-upcoming-trial-hearing-of-elif-tiren%C3%A7-i%CC%87pek-ula%C5%9F

https://www.fidh.org/en/issues/human-rights-defenders/turkey-upcoming-trial-hearing-of-women-s-rights-defender-elif-tirenc

https://jinpanel.com/HUKUK/content/view/201269 (TURKCE)

https://www.evrensel.net/haber/477668/rosa-kadin-dernegi-dosyasinda-avukat-ulas-hakkinda-15-yila-kadar-hapis-talebi

European Court of Human Rights faults Turkey for detaining 82 judges and prosecutors after failed 2016 coup

13/12/22

The European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) ruled on Tuesday that Turkey violated the European Convention on Human Rights by detaining 82 judges and prosecutors after a failed 2016 coup against President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, holding that Turkey is to pay each applicant 5,000 euros in non-pecuniary damages.

The ECtHR ruled in the case of Güngör and Others v. Türkiye that the suspicion which formed the basis for the 82 applicants’ pretrial detention was not reasonable, pointing out that the evidence in the applicants’ files did not justify the measure.

“The Court also notes that as regards some of the applicants, the Government have referred to the existence of witness statements justifying the measures in question. It observes, however, that there are no statements in the case files referring to concrete and specific facts that may have given rise to a reasonable suspicion against the applicants concerned at the material time,” the ECtHR said.

With this ruling, along with the rulings in the cases of Turan and Others v. TürkiyeAcar and Others v. TürkiyeAtaman and Others v. TürkiyeBayram and Others v. TürkiyeGeleş and Others v. TürkiyeUlusoy and Others v. TürkiyeSevinç and Others v. Türkiye and Moral and Others v. Türkiye the number of judges and prosecutors whose applications have been upheld by the ECtHR in their cases against Turkey has risen to 929.

Members of the Turkish judiciary had been arrested after the failed coup as part of a mass crackdown on the Gülen movement, inspired by Turkish cleric Fethullah Gülen, whom Erdoğan blames for the coup attempt. Gülen and the movement deny any involvement.

Following the abortive putsch, the Turkish government declared a state of emergency and carried out a massive purge of state institutions under the pretext of an anti-coup fight. More than 130,000 public servants, including 4,156 judges and prosecutors, as well as 29,444 members of the armed forces, were summarily removed from their jobs for alleged membership in or relationships with “terrorist organizations” by emergency decree-laws subject to neither judicial nor parliamentary scrutiny.

https://hudoc.echr.coe.int/eng#%22languageisocode%22:%5B%22ENG%22%5D,%22documentcollectionid2%22:%5B%22JUDGMENTS%22%5D,%22itemid%22:%5B%22001-221477%22%5D

Turkey: Corrupt judges are instrumental in cracking down on legal profession

10/12/22

A crucial piece of advice; If you are a senior Turkish judge who is close enough to a drug lord to take a photo of him and his family while he is being sought for murder, beware of any reflective surfaces behind your boss. If, however, you are unlucky enough to be identified from your reflection and lose your job as a judge, you can rejoice in the fact that the Turkish Bar Association will welcome you as a lawyer with open arms. Ask Kemal Alver; he would tell you all about it.

As we mark another Human Rights Day, hundreds of our fellow lawyers still languish in Turkish prisons. The Turkish Government’s crackdown on lawyers using the failed coup of July 2016 as a pretext has not lost momentum even after more than 6 years. Our colleagues continue to be harassed, intimidated, and arrested for simply doing their jobs. Their client lists continue to be the primary evidence for their arrests together with what newspapers they read, or which bank they held accounts in. As of this Human Rights Day, more than 1600 of our colleagues have been detained for membership in a terrorist organisation under Turkey’s infamously vague anti-terror laws which Erdogan’s governments have been shamelessly abusing in order to silence dissent.

The Turkish judiciary as shaped by Erdogan himself following the implication of his son in corruption together with his ministers back in 2013, has been instrumental in the persecution of Turkish lawyers. Erdogan has dismissed, arrested, and imprisoned thousands of judges and prosecutors overnight and replaced them with his foot soldiers from the ranks of his own party and the nationalist MHP, his political ally. The past improper conduct of some judges was overlooked so long as they were prepared to do Erdogan’s bidding in cracking down on the opposition. It was finally the time of the likes of ex-judge Kemal Alver.

Shortly after the all-important HSYK election of October 2015 Erdogan entrusted the chair of the provincial “Commission on Justice ” of Samsun to Judge Alver who at the time was the president of Samsun High Criminal Court. The commission is a critical judicial body which is responsible for providing reports about members of the judiciary on which the HSK bases its decisions of promotion or demotion. It is also responsible for recruiting court clerks.

[…]