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.
On this day, 5 April 2021 – celebrated as ‘Lawyers’ Day in Turkey – Lawyers for Lawyers takes the opportunity to strongly condemn the on-going crackdown against lawyers in Turkey. In spite of a Human Rights Action Plan, that wasLees verder
Lawyer and human rights defender Öztürk Türkdoğan was arrested during a police raid on his home in Ankara on the 19th of March 2021. While Öztürk Türkdoğan was released on the same day under judicial control, the charges against himLees verder
Lawyers’ Rights Watch Canada and Lawyers for Lawyers delivered an oral statement during the interactive dialogue with the Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms while countering terrorism, on the overbroad anti-terrorism laws used toLees verder
Lawyers for Lawyers, together with 47 other lawyers’ and human rights organisations wrote a letter to the United Nations (UN) special mandate holders on the killing of human rights lawyer Tahir Elçi on 28 November 2015 and the lack ofLees verder