Posts Tagged ‘Stockholm Centre for Freedom’

Turkey: assault on lawyers goes in overdrive

September 14, 2020

The lawyers followed up on “the cases of Gülen-affiliated defendants,” and “tried to manipulate the trials to the benefit of the terrorist organization under the guise of the practice of law,” the prosecutor’s statement read.

Rights groups and lawyers criticized the detention warrants and claimed that the latest move was part of a broader strategy to obliterate the right to a defense for many who are jailed on terror charges.

An assault on lawyers in Turkey was launched after the failed 2016 coup. This assault started with the arrest of the chair of the Konya Bar Association and 20 lawyers and has been ongoing since then,” said Barış Çelik, a lawyer who spoke to Turkish Minute. “Up until the present day, nearly 1,600 lawyers have been detained, more than 600 have been arrested and 441 have been convicted over activities related to the practice of law.”

Another law practitioner, Ömer Turanlı, told Turkish Minute that even though lawyers visited the courthouse regularly, they were rounded up by 1,500 police officers.

Due process was ignored, case files the lawyers had worked on were gathered as evidence and the lawyers were denied the right to choose their legal representatives, restricted instead to a special lawyer assigned by the prosecution,” Turanlı said. “All this unlawfulness aims to silence lawyers.”

The detentions come in the aftermath of the news that Turkey’s governing party has started working on an amendment to the law on lawyers following Erdoğan’s call on September 1 for the suspension of lawyers accused of links to terrorism

We should be discussing whether methods such as expulsion from the profession should be introduced for lawyers,” Erdoğan had told judges and prosecutors at a ceremony in Ankara.

Just as thieves should not be called on to defend burglars, “a lawyer who defends terrorists should not be a terrorist,” he had said.

President Erdoğan’s call had come after protests over the death of lawyer Ebru Timtik last month in an İstanbul hospital after a 238-day hunger strike in support of a fair trial. [https://humanrightsdefenders.blog/2020/08/29/human-rights-defender-ebru-timtik-dies-in-istanbul-hospital-after-238-days-hungerstrike/] Timtik was a member of the Contemporary Lawyers’ Association (ÇHD), a leftist group accused of having close ties to the outlawed Revolutionary People’s Liberation Party/Front (DHKP/C), a militant Marxist group recognized as a terrorist organization by Turkey, the US and the EU.

Following her death, the İstanbul Bar Association hung a picture of Timtik outside its headquarters, in a protest dismissed by Erdoğan.

In a press statement on Saturday the ÇHD condemned the detentions and stated that the lawyers were being questioned on their legal work.

Turkey issues detention warrants for 60 lawyers following Erdoğan’s call to suspend attorneys accused of terrorist links

Press Emblem Campaign (PEC) reports to Human Rights Council on media casualties

March 13, 2019

Press Emblem Campaign (PEC), a nongovernmental organization presented a statement on press freedom and journalist killings duringUnited Nations Human Rights Council 40th session in Geneva on 13 March 2019.

The Press Emblem Campaign (PEC) documented last year the killing of 117 journalists, an increase of 17 percent in media casualties compared to the previous year. In five countries journalists paid an unacceptable toll: Afghanistan with 17 killed, Mexico also with 17 killed, Syria with 11 killed, Yemen and India, with 8 journalists killed in each of those countries. The PEC urged the Members of the Human Rights Council to fight more firmly impunity and to bring the responsible of those crimes to justice.

The PEC is also worried by the large number of arrests among journalists in the recent turmoilin Sudan, the repression of press freedom in Nicaragua and Venezuela, the statement reads. PEC expressed itsspecial concern with the continuous judicial harassment of journalists in Turkey in the statement.

PEC was one of the organizers of the panel discussion on human rights violations in Turkey, which the Turkish government mobilized its entire diplomatic corps to prevent during 40th Regular Session of the UN Human Rights Council on 5 March. The move prompted an outcry from human rights defenders.[see: https://stockholmcf.org/erdogan-govt-fails-to-cancel-un-human-rights-council-event-on-turkey/%5D

Turkey is the biggest jailer of journalists in the world. The most recent figures documented by SCF (Stockholm Centre for Freedom) show that 211 journalists and media workers were in jail as of March 11, 2019, most in pretrial detention. Of those in prison 134 were under arrest pending trial while only 77 journalists have been convicted and are serving their time. Detention warrants are outstanding for 167 journalists who are living in exile or remain at large in Turkey. The government also closed down some 200 media outlets.

See also: https://humanrightsdefenders.blog/2019/02/20/european-parliament-rapporteur-on-turkey-kati-piri-it-makes-no-sense-to-continue-talks-on-eu-membership/