Tag Archives: Turkey

Turkey: International Law Obligations to Release ÇHD Lawyers | Letter

October 23, 2019

We write on behalf of Lawyers’ Rights Watch Canada (LRWC), a committee of lawyers and human rights defenders who promote international human rights, the independence and security of human rights defenders, the integrity of legal systems and the rule of law through advocacy, education and legal research. LRWC has Special Consultative Status with the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations.

LRWC has written in the past with respect to various Turkish lawyers and human rights defenders who have been detained, arrested, charged, and/or imprisoned in violation of Turkey’s international human rights law obligations and Turkey’s own Constitution. Communications to the Government of Turkey have been made by LRWC regarding the cases of: Nurullah Albayrak, Eren Keskin, Selçuk Kozağaçlı, Şebnem Korur Fincancı, Ramazan Demir, Mustafa Aydin, Can Tombul, Taner Kilic and numerous other Turkish lawyers. LRWC has also made oral and written statements to the UN Human Rights Council and submissions to the UN Human Rights Council and Special Procedures regarding widespread persecution of lawyers, journalists and other human rights defenders through prosecutions, convictions, arbitrary detentions and other grave human rights abuses in violation of international law.

LRWC has just been advised that on 16 October 2019 the İstanbul Regional Court of Justice 2nd Penal Chamber (Court of Appeals) has rejected the appeals and confirmed the sentences imposed in March 2019 by the Istanbul 37th Heavy Penal Court on lawyers who are members of the Contemporary Lawyers’ Association (ÇHD). The convictions and sentences are contrary to international human rights law, contrary to Turkey’s constitution, and contrary to basic principles of fairness and justice. The alleged crimes that underlie these convictions would not be considered crimes in any country governed by the rule of law.  We urge you to intervene to ensure the release of those sentenced and the vacation and nullification of the convictions and sentences imposed.

An international delegation of lawyers who observed the March 2019 court proceedings that imposed the convictions and sentences, concluded that the, “trial is completely null and void” and called for, “the immediate acquittal of all defendants, to be attained through all possible judicial and legal means.”[1]

Background of this Case

This case involves the sentencing of 20 ÇHD lawyers.  The six lawyers, sentenced to less than five years in prison do not have the right to any further appeal. ÇHD lawyers sentenced to more than five years in prison, have a right to appeal to Turkey’s Supreme Court of Appeal.

Turkey: International Law Obligations to Release ÇHD Lawyers | Letter

http://bianet.org/english/law/214528-court-of-appeals-upholds-159-year-prison-term-for-contemporary-lawyers-association-members

https://www.frontlinedefenders.org/en/case/selcuk-kozagacli-detained

https://www.lawtimesnews.com/news/general/lawyers-rights-watch-canada-calls-for-release-of-convicted-lawyers-in-turkey/321265

https://www.gercekgundem.com/guncel/126431/istinaf-mahkemesinden-selcuk-kozagacli-ve-chd-avukatlari-hakkinda-karar (TURKCE)

http://www.yeniyasamgazetesi1.com/chd-ve-hhbli-avukatlara-verilen-hapis-cezasi-onandi/ (TURKCE)

https://www.gazeteduvar.com.tr/gundem/2019/10/19/ege-insan-haklari-okulu-calistayinda-ikinci-gun-sona-erdi/ (TURKCE)

Turkey: House of Eren Keskin Raided by Police

October 23, 2019

Police raided the house of Human Rights Association (İHD) Co-Chair lawyer Eren Keskin last night. Keskin has deposed at the Anatolian Courthouse today. She is reportedly accused of “propagandizing for a terrorist organization” on social media.

Police officers conducted a raid against the house of Human Rights Association (İHD) Co-Chair lawyer Eren Keskin last night (October 22).

While Keskin was not at home during the raid, police officers asked her mother where Eren Keskin was.

As reported by Mezopotamya Agency, Keskin has stated that she talked to the police after the raid. “They told me that I must go to the Anti-Terror Branch. And I told them that I would. I don’t know why they summoned me. It will get clear tomorrow”, Keskin has indicated further.

Speaking to bianet today, Zeynep Ceren Toprak, the lawyer of Keskin, has stated that her client went to the Anatolian Courthouse to depose. While Keskin has been accused of “propagandizing for a terrorist organization” on social media, she will share the details about the issue on social media.

About Eren Keskin

Lawyer, the Editor-in-Chief and columnist of closed daily Özgür Gündem and founder of the Legal Aid Bureau Against Sexual Harassment and Rape in Custody. She is currently the Co-Chair of the Human Rights Association (İHD). She has been struggling for fundamental rights and freedoms in Turkey for years, especially for minority rights, gender equality and rights violations. There are still several ongoing lawsuits against her.

Eren Keskin has been granted several awards: Aachen Peace Prize (2004), Theodor Haecker Prize for Political Courage and Sincerity (2005), symbol figure for struggle against impunity on the International Freedom of Expression Network (IFEX) International Day to End Impunity (2013).

http://bianet.org/english/freedom-of-expression/214837-house-of-eren-keskin-raided-by-police

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eren_Keskin

http://bianet.org/bianet/ifade-ozgurlugu/214833-eren-keskin-ifade-verdi (TURKCE)

https://www.gazeteduvar.com.tr/gundem/2019/10/23/eren-keskinin-evine-polis-baskini/ (TURKCE)

https://t24.com.tr/video/evi-basilan-ihd-es-genel-baskani-keskin-yargi-reformu-paketinin-cikarilacagi-gunlerde-boyle-durumlarin-yasanmasi-ironik,23763 (TURKCE)

Turkey: Court of Appeals Upholds 159-Year Prison Term for Contemporary Lawyers’ Association Members

October 16, 2019

The court has rejected all the objections on the merits, making the final judgment for six lawyers. The arrest of the six lawyers will continue.

İstanbul Regional Court of Justice 2nd Penal Chamber (court of appeals) has announced its decision in the case where lawyers from the Contemporary Lawyers’ Association (ÇHD) were given a 159-year prison term in total.

All objections have been rejected on the merits.

This is the final judgment for six lawyers who were sentenced to less than five years in prison, therefore they will not be able to appeal the verdict.

Twelve lawyers who were sentenced to more than five years in prison can appeal the decision at the Court of Cassation.

Reason for the refusal: Court’s opinion and assessment

The court of appeals, in its verdict dated October 8, explained the reason for refusing the objections as follows:

“According to defendants’ statements of defense, the proceedings, the evidence collected and displayed at the court, the opinion and assessment of the court in accordance with the results of the investigation, the content of the case file, it has been understood that there is no procedural or meritorious unlawfulness in the court’s decision, there is no deficiency in the evidence and proceedings that the actions are considered correct and in accordance with the type of crime that is stated in the law, the sentence is implemented in the legal context…”

http://bianet.org/english/law/214528-court-of-appeals-upholds-159-year-prison-term-for-contemporary-lawyers-association-members

Istanbul Regional Appeal Court upheld 159 years prison term given to 18 lawyers

https://bianet.org/1/13/214493-istinaf-chd-davasinda-159-yillik-hapis-cezasini-onadi (TURKCE)

https://gazetekarinca.com/2019/10/istinaf-chd-ve-hhbli-avukatlara-verilen-hapis-cezasini-onadi/ (TURKCE)

https://ilerihaber.org/icerik/chd-davasinda-istinaf-basvurusu-reddedildi-104932.html (TURKCE)

Iran/Turkey/Syria: Nine protesters detained outside Turkish embassy in Tehran

October 13, 2019

Nine people were detained by Iranian security forces outside the Turkish embassy in Tehran on Saturday while protesting against Turkey’s ongoing military offensive in northeast Syria.

Since Operation Peace Spring began on Wednesday evening, protests have sprung up across Iranian Kurdistan, also known as Rojhelat, concentrated on the major Kurdish cities of Sanandaj, Baneh, Piranshar, and Marivan, amid a heavy security presence.

Hundreds of protesters also gathered outside the Turkish embassy in the Iranian capital Tehran on Saturday to protest Ankara’s Syria offensive. The protesters chanted “death to Turkey and Erdogan” and “Rojava is not alone”.

One protester, who wished to remain anonymous, told Rudaw at least nine people were detained by security forces.

“Minutes after the protests started, security forces forced the protesters to leave the area with force,” the protester said. “The security forces detained nine protesters.”

Abdullah Jahanbyn, head of a Kurdish lawyers group, and Ismail Salary, a Kurdish human rights lawyer, are among those detained, he added.

https://www.rudaw.net/english/middleeast/iran/131020191

https://en.radiofarda.com/a/protest-at-turkish-embassy-in-tehran-iran-in-protest-to-syria-invasion/30213462.html

Turkey: 61 arrested in new wave of operations against covert FETÖ members

October 9, 2019

In nationwide operations yesterday, security forces detained 61 people, from civilians to former judges, accused of affiliation with FETÖ, the terrorist group behind the 2016 coup attempt

FETÖ leader Fetullah Gülen speaks to reporters in his compound in Pennsylvania, United States, on July 17, 2016, one day after the coup attempt by FETÖ. The terrorist group repeatedly tried to topple the government in 2013 and 2016.

A new wave of operations against the Gülenist Terror Group (FETÖ) yesterday saw the arrest of 61 suspects across the country. The operations that come three years after the terrorist group tried to seize power, target secret members of the group, from former judges and lawyers to civilians.

Prosecutors in the capital Ankara ordered the arrest of 29 suspects accused of involvement in fraud in exams for administrative judges in 2013. According to prosecutors, the suspects were implicated in a scheme to steal questions and answers for exams to help the terrorist group plant its members in the Turkish judiciary. Fourteen suspects were arrested in operations in Ankara and 20 other cities. Operations were underway to capture the other suspects.

The suspects, who are accused of fraud in official documents and for membership of a terrorist group, include former judges, prospective judges and lawyers. The Chief Prosecutor’s Office in Ankara says FETÖ members had access to questions and answers for the exam beforehand and delivered them to their members staying in houses designated for judges and prosecutors. Those “study houses” were places where FETÖ infiltrators memorized the answers to questions and managed to pass the exam, a gateway for infiltration into the judiciary. FETÖ is known for its widespread infiltration into the judiciary, law enforcement, military and bureaucracy.

https://www.dailysabah.com/investigations/2019/10/09/61-arrested-in-new-wave-of-operations-against-covert-feto-members

https://www.urdupoint.com/en/world/turkey-orders-arrest-of-51-people-over-suspec-731112.html

https://www.coe.int/en/web/ankara/-/launching-conference-for-the-new-eu-coe-joint-project-on

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2016%E2%80%93present_purges_in_Turkey

Turkey: Judicial farce must end with acquittal of human rights defenders

October 8, 2019

More than two years after they were first detained, the honorary chair and the former Director of Amnesty International Turkey and nine other human rights defenders must be acquitted of the absurd charges they still face, said Amnesty International ahead of their trial which resumes tomorrow in Istanbul.

Taner Kılıç, Amnesty Turkey’s Honorary Chair, and İdil Eser, the organization’s former Turkey Director, are being tried alongside nine others on baseless allegations of “membership of a terrorist organisation”.

“After more than two years and without a shred of credible evidence presented to substantiate the absurd charges made against them, it is now time to end this judicial farce and acquit Taner and the Istanbul 10,” said Kumi Naidoo, Amnesty International’s Secretary General.

“Over the course of eight hearings, the prosecuting authorities have failed to present any credible evidence of any criminal wrongdoing, yet the threat of conviction has hung over these 11 human rights defenders but also as a warning to anyone else standing up for human rights in Turkey.”

Taner Kılıç spent more than 14 months in prison before his release on bail in August 2018. Eight of the Istanbul 10 spent almost four months each behind bars before they were bailed in October 2017.

https://www.amnesty.org/en/latest/news/2019/10/turkey-judicial-farce-must-end-with-acquittal-of-human-rights-defenders/

https://www.amnesty.org.uk/press-releases/turkey-trial-amnesty-chair-and-ex-director-resumes-two-years-first-detained

http://bianet.org/english/law/214173-11-human-rights-defenders-must-be-acquitted

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Taner_Kılıç

https://www.amnesty.be/infos/actualites/article/turquie-kilic-eser-liberes (FRANCAIS)

https://fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/Taner_Kili%C3%A7 (FRANCAIS)

https://www.es.amnesty.org/en-que-estamos/noticias/noticia/articulo/turquia-farsa-judicial-que-debe-concluir-con-la-absolucion-de-defensores-y-defensoras-de-los-derecho/ (ESPANOL)

https://www.amnesty.it/processo-turchia-difensori-diritti-umani/ (ITALIANO)

https://t24.com.tr/haber/11-insan-haklari-savunucusunun-yargilandigi-buyukada-davasi-yarin-gorulecek,842908 (TURKCE)

https://www.birgun.net/haber/buyukada-davasi-27-kasim-a-ertelendi-271875 (TURKCE)

International Bar Association: IBA 2019: ‘Enthusiastic amateurs’ wanted to protect lawyers at risk

September 27, 2019

Simon Davis IBA

Commercial lawyers can do their bit as ‘enthusiastic amateurs’ to help protect colleagues at risk and the rule of law in general around the world, the president of the Law Society told the global legal profession today.

‘We need to ensure we are capturing the imagination and influence of the enthusiastic amateur,’ Davis told a packed closing session of the International Bar Association’s annual conference discussing ways to address the persecution of lawyers and judges.

By uniting in solidarity the profession can show that human rights lawyers are not just some isolated group to be picked off by hostile authorities, Davis said.

‘You can be a human rights lawyer in any organisation – we are all human rights lawyers,’ the Clifford Chance partner said.

The conference heard accounts of lawyers being threatened, imprisoned and murdered in countries as diverse as Turkey, Thailand and Venezuela. In the Philippines alone, 44 lawyers have been killed over the past three years, Erik Hammerstein, a commercial litigator who sites on the board of Netherlands group Lawyers for Lawyers said.

Noting this year’s furore over the granting of legal aid to a solicitor acting for a fugitive from justice, Davis said that the battle to protect the independence of the legal profession also had to be fought at home.

https://www.lawgazette.co.uk/news/iba-2019-enthusiastic-amateurs-wanted-to-protect-lawyers-at-risk/5101596.article

https://www.ibanet.org/Conferences/Seoul-2019.aspx

https://www.ibanet.org/

https://www.lawgazette.co.uk/news/iba-2019-lawyers-must-stand-against-populism/5101575.article

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