ÇHD Susmadı, Susmayacak!


National Lawyers Guild International Committee calls !

basınDecember 23, 2013

 National Lawyers Guild International Committee calls for the immediate release of 22 members of Turkey’s Progressive Lawyers’ Association (ÇHD) on the eve of trial.

We implore Turkish authorities to end the politically motivated witch-hunt against Turkey’s human rights lawyers.

The National Lawyers Guild International Committee (NLG-IC) expresses strong solidarity with the 22 Turkish human rights lawyers from Turkey’s Progressive Lawyers’ Association (ÇHD) who will face trial this week, on spurious charges of aiding terrorism. The first stage of this trial will take place December 24-26, in the courtroom of the Silivri Detention Campus, a high-security state prison in the Siliviri district of Istanbul, where several attorneys are imprisoned.

NLG-IC is disturbed at the Turkish state’s accusations that these lawyers have aided or supported terrorism through the act of defending their clients. The lawyers of the ÇHD are known for defending individuals’ right to freedom of speech as well as victims of police violence, workers, and those criminally charged for political reasons. NLG-IC views this case as a politically motivated attack on Turkey’s progressive lawyers and an attempt to weaken the ability of lawyers to defend those who are targeted by the state for political repression.

NLG-IC has become increasingly aware of the alarming rates in which “anti-terror” laws are implemented to target journalists, students, Kurdish people, trade union members, artists or anyone engaged in political dissent in Turkey. Thousands of people are imprisoned under political charges. The 22 are not the first lawyers to be subject to this type of political legal attack; two years ago, 46 Kurdish lawyers were arrested in November 2011 on political grounds and most remain in custody awaiting trial.

On January 18, 2013 a series of raids and arrests were carried out against the members of ÇHD on political grounds. 11 lawyers were taken into custody, and 9 more were subsequently arrested under the instruction of the Public Prosecutor of Istanbul (in charge of Anti-terror Law – Article 10).http://knowyourhumanrights.org/2013/01/29/action-alert-detention-of-turkish

After challenging the initial secrecy of the case against these lawyers, it was revealed that the allegations against them stem purely from their roles as lawyers exercising their professional duties or publicizing negative treatment their clients. Initial interrogations of the detained lawyers focused on their counseling of clients, including questioning on why they counsel their clients to exercise their right to “remain silent” or why they chose to defend the family of an accused criminal who was tortured to death by the police.

We agree with the ÇHD’s assessment that “This trial is against the legal profession and especially our legal practice in criminal cases which are directed to all kinds of opposition in our country. ÇHD is facing these charges for carrying out its legal practice for the good of not only political and social opposition but also the poor, the oppressed and the people left desperate before the state.”

By arresting these lawyers, the Turkish state not only prevents them from exercising their professional duties but also denies their clients the right to be represented by a lawyer of their choice. Both acts are a violation of human rights, under the UN Basic Principles on the Role of Lawyers, 1. ” All persons are entitled to call upon the assistance of a lawyer of their choice”, 18. “Lawyers shall not be identified with their clients or their clients’ causes as a result of discharging their functions.”

We call for the following:

1.     The immediate release of the arrested lawyers.

2.     That lawyers shall not be identified with their clients or their clients’ causes as a result of discharging their functions.

3.     The Turkish state shall ensure that lawyers (a) are able to perform all of their professional functions without intimidation, hindrance, harassment or improper interference; (b) are able to travel and to consult with their clients freely both within their own country and abroad; and (c) shall not suffer, or be threatened with, prosecution or administrative, economic or other sanctions for any action taken in accordance with recognized professional duties, standards and ethics.

4.     The full implementation of all International laws and covenants ratified by Turkey concerning the right to a fair trial, i.e. Art. 14 International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, Art. 6 European Convention on Human Rights.

5.     The full implementation of the Basic Principles on the Role of Lawyers i.e. Art. 7, 8, 16, 182. That all persons arrested or detained, with or without criminal charge, shall have prompt access to a lawyer, and in any case not later than forty-eight hours from the time of arrest or detention.


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