Bar Associations of Ankara and Diyarbakir under investigation
30 April 2020

Bar Associations of Ankara and Diyarbakir under investigation

Turkey

The Chief Public Prosecutor’s Offices of Ankara and Diyarbakir have initiated ex officio investigations against the Ankara Bar Association and the Diyarbakir Bar Association because of their statements denouncing Turkey’s top mufti Ali Erbaş. This has been reported by the Arrested Lawyers Initiative.

During his Friday sermon on 24 April 2020, Turkey’s top mufti Ali Erbaş alleged that LGBT persons were the source for evil and epidemic. In response, the Ankara Bar Association and the Diyarbakir Bar Association published statements denouncing the statements made by Erbaş. Moreover, the Ankara Bar Association filed a criminal complaint against Erbaş on grounds that he incited hatred against LGBT people during his Friday sermon. However, The Arrested Lawyers Initiative reports that the Turkish authorities and the Ruling Party defended Mr Erbaş and called on every jurist to denounce the Ankara Bar Association.

After the Minister of Justice denounced the Ankara Bar Assocation with a written statement, the Ankara Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office initiated an ex officio investigation against the Ankara Bar Association on 27 April. In addition, on 28 April, the Diyarbakir Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office initiated an ex officio investigation against the Diyarbakir Bar Association for its statement denouncing Ali Erbaş. Both investigations were started as per Article 216 § 3 of the Turkish Penal Code.

Lawyers for Lawyers will continue to monitor the ex officio investigations that have been started against both Bar Associations closely.

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