URGENT ACTION: The arbitrary detention and long-term imprisonment of lawyers from HHB (the Peoples’ Law Office) and ҪHD (the Progressive Lawyers Association)

The Turkey Litigation Support Project, together with 24 prominent lawyers' and human rights organisations, sent an urgent action letter (available here) to the UN Special Rapporteurs this week expressing serious concerns regarding the arbitrary detention and long-term imprisonment of 18 human rights lawyers from Halkın Hukuk Bürosu (HHB, the Peoples’ Law Office) and Ҫağdaş Hukukçular Derneği (ҪHD, the Progressive Lawyers Association) in violation of fair trial principles and of their right to freedom of expression

The urgent action letter requests the Special Rapporteurs to urge the Turkish authorities to facilitate the immediate acquittal of lawyers Ayşegül Çağatay, Yağmur Ereren, Didem Baydar Ünsal, Yaprak Türkmen, Ahmet Mandacı, Zehra Özdemir, Ebru Timtik, Özgür Yılmaz, Behiç Aşçı, Sukriye Erden, Selçuk Kozağaçlı, Suleyman Gokten, Aytaç Ünsal, Engin Gökoğlu, Aycan Çiçek, Naciye Demir, Ezgi Cakir and Barkın Timtik; and the urgent release of those in detention pending appeal.  We further requested the Special Rapporteurs to urge the Turkish authorities to:

  • stop all forms of harassment, including judicial harassment, against these individuals as well as other lawyers and human rights defenders in Turkey, and allow them to perform their professional and lawful functions without intimidation or improper interference

  • immediately stop using oppressive methods against individuals, particularly lawyers and other human rights defenders, who are critical of the human rights violations perpetrated by the State authorities including the security forces

  • ensure the independence of the judiciary by law and practice and to prevent judges, prosecutors and lawyers from undue interferences

Ayse Bingol Demir, Turkey Human Rights Litigation Support Project, London 

Jérôme Gavaudan, President, Conférence des Bâtonniers de France et d’Outre-Mer 

Andrea Mascherin, President, Consiglio Nazionale Forense, Italy 

José de Freitas, President, The Council of Bars and Law Societies of Europe 

Martine Jacquin, Présidente, Défense Sans Frontière-Avocats Solidaires 

Thomas Schmidt, Secretary General, European Association of Lawyers for Democracy and World Human Rights 

Robert Sabata Gripekoven, President, European Democratic Lawyers - Avocats Européens Démocrates 

Newal Ciftci, President, Fair Trial Watch 

Hans And Symone Gaasbeek, Secretary, The Foundation Day of The Endangered Lawyer 

Bill Bowring, Joint International Secretary, Haldane Society of Socialist Lawyers 

Evelyn Dürmayer, representative at the UN Vienna, International Association of Democratic Lawyers 

Tony Fisher, Chair Human Rights Committee, The Law Society of England & Wales 

Phon van den Biesen, President, Lawyers for Lawyers 

Gail Davidson, Director, Lawyers’ Rights Watch Canada 

Saniye Karakas, London Legal Group 

Edre Olalia, Secretary General, National Union of Peoples' Lawyers, Philippines 

Maria Hessen Jacobsen, HRC, Norwegian Bar Association 

Jerôme Dirou, Bâtonnier, Ordre des Avocats au Barreau de Bordeaux 

Alain Cockenpot, Bâtonnier, Ordre des Avocats au Barreau de Douai 

Farid Hamel, Bâtonnier, Ordre des Avocats au Barreau de Lyon 

Jean-Marie Chabaud, Bâtonnier, Ordre des Avocats au Barreau de Nimes 

Basile Ader, Vice Bâtonnier, Ordre des Avocats au Barreau de Paris 

Franziska Nedelmann, Board Member, Republikanischer Anwältinnen- und Anwälteverein 

Hein Vogel, Chariman, Vereniging Sociale Advocatuur, Nederland