Veysel Ok is a leading free speech and press freedom lawyer from Turkey.
He started his career working as a lawyer for the now-defunct Taraf newspaper. In 2018, he co-founded the Media and Law Studies Association (MLSA), which provides pro-bono legal support to writers and journalists who have been subjected to intimidation, surveillance, smear campaigns and legal harassment. Ok has also defended Ahmet Altan, the novelist and Deniz Yücel, the Die Welt correspondent. Ok applied to the Constitutional Court and then to the European Court of Human Rights on behalf of journalist Şahin Alpay and the writer/academic Mehmet Altan and was instrumental in their release.
Veysel Ok has faced harassment, surveillance and legal harassment for standing up for press freedom. He was charged with “insulting the Turkish judiciary” as per the Article 301 of the Turkish Penal Code, for remarks made in an interview with Özgür Düsünce newspaper published in 2015. In this article, Ok expressed his views on the independence of the Turkish judiciary. He said, “Previously, judges could hold varying opinions. There was a possibility of being tried by judges who valued freedoms. But now all members of the judiciary come in a single color. We see the judges serving at the Criminal Judgeships of Peace. They are deaf to defense statements or objections. Where the loyalties of these judges lie is clear. Nothing changes the result, because the decisions are pre-ordered. Either, those in power give orders to the judicial authorities before the investigation, or attack the defendant via the government press.”
The trial against Veysel Ok is ongoing. However, undeterred, he continues to defend his clients, nine of whom are journalists currently imprisoned for their criticism of the government, including Kurdish journalists İdris Sayilgan and Nedin Türfent.
Veysel Ok is one of the shortlisted candidates for the Lawyers for Lawyers Award 2019.
In a letter to the Turkish authorities Lawyers for Lawyers expressed concern about the legal proceedings initiated against prominent human rights lawyer and defender Levent Pişkin. The final hearing in his court case will be held on 18 November 2020.Lees verder
Over the last year, the Turkish government has increased the pressure on independent bar associations in Turkey by passing a disputed law and launching multiple criminal investigations into bar associations. Turkey’s Law on Lawyers In June 2020, the Turkish governmentLees verder
On 29 September 2020, Lawyers for Lawyers, the International Bar Association’s Human Rights Institute, Lawyers’ Rights Watch Canada, and the Law Society of England and Wales delivered an oral statement during the 45th Session of the UN Human Rights Council.Lees verder
On 15 September 2020, the 16th Penal Chamber of the Court of Cassation has ruled that the convictions of all ÇHD lawyers, except for Barkın Timtik, Selçuk Kozağaçlı and Ezgi Çakır, shall be upheld. On 20 March 2019, the IstanbulLees verder