L4L and FTW visit law firms
17 May 2018

L4L and FTW visit law firms

Turkey

On 10 May 2018, three hearings were held in Istanbul in cases against lawyers that are suspected of terrorism-related crimes: the KCK-case, the ŐHD-case, and a new case (Cizre-protest). Representatives of Lawyers for Lawyers and Fair Trial Watch observed two of those hearings, together with observers from the United Kingdom, Norway, France, Germany, Switzerland, Italy and Spain. The day after the hearings, on 11 May 2018, the representatives of Lawyers for Lawyers and Fair Trial Watch visited two law firms of lawyers who have been in pre-trial detention for months.

First, they visited one of the offices of Halkın Hukuk Bürosu (“Peoples Lawyers”). This office works a lot with law firm Umut Hukuk. 19 Lawyers of those two firms have been arrested in September and November 2017, amongst whom Selçuk Kozağaçli, who is the head of Çağdaş Hukukçular Derneği (ҪHD, Progressive LawyersˈAssociation). Since all lawyers are detained, the office is now run by 3 new lawyers, 2 interns and 3 students. The first hearing in this case is scheduled for 9 September 2018.

The second office was Ezilenlerin Hukuk Bürosu (“Law firm of the Oppressed”). The two founding lawyers of this firm (Sezin Uçar, who is also a defendant in the case about the Cizre-protest and Őzlem Gümüştaş) have been in pre-trial detention since 19 October 2017, a third (Gülhan Kaya) is on judicial detention, which means she is not in prison but has a duty to report every week and a travel ban is imposed. The hearing in this case is scheduled for 16 / 17 July 2018.

Meeting with President of the Bar Association of Istanbul
The representatives also met with the President of the Bar Association of Istanbul, mr. Mehmet Durakoğlu, and discussed the dire situation that lawyers are in. The President expressed his concern about the declining state of the rule of law in Turkey and about the problems that lawyers face. L4L and Fair Trial Watch asked the President to do everything in his power to support the accused and the detained lawyers.

Concerns
Lawyers for Lawyers and Fair and Trial Watch are very concerned about the situation of lawyers in Turkey and will keep on monitoring cases against them closely.

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