Turkey President and board of Istanbul Bar Association acquitted
In Istanbul the President, Ümit Kocasakal, and the board of the Istanbul Bar Association were acquitted on February 2014. This was announced by the Dutch Lawyers for Lawyers Foundation (L4L). At the beginning of 2013, the President and the board of the Istanbul Bar Association were put on trial on suspicion of influencing the judge, after they stood up for the rights of lawyers, who had defended suspects imembers of the board argued during the hearing that it is their duty as a bar association to defend the right to be defended by a lawyer. If they had not done this, they would have neglected their duty as a bar association; the Bar declared that it would do the same again.
L4L was present at all the hearings (on 17 May 2013, 7 January 2014 and 24 February 2014), and was accompanied by representatives of Bar Associations from the Netherlands who observed the proceedingson behalf of concerned colleagues from the Netherlands.
Hans van Veggel, former President of the Amsterdam Bar Association, observed the trial. He reacted to the verdict saying: ‘Our travels to Istanbul have not been in vain, but a lot more has to be done before we can speak of a real democracy and an independent judiciary in Turkey.’
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