Lawyers for Lawyers monitors hearings in Istanbul
14 November 2014

Lawyers for Lawyers monitors hearings in Istanbul


This week Lawyers for Lawyers observed two hearings in the cases in which a large number of lawyers are being prosecuted. Both sessions were adjourned to May 2014.

Lawyers for Lawyers monitored two hearings in the trials against Turkish lawyers in Istanbul on 11 and 13 November 2014. On 13 November, the trial against the 46 Turkish lawyers who were arrested three years ago continued. Lawyers for Lawyers observed all the hearings in this case (July and November 2012, January, March, June, September and December 2013), and asked the former dean of Rotterdam, Nardy Desloover, to join the mission and monitor the hearings on behalf of the Dean’s of the Netherlands.

Background of the case

On November 22, 2011, a broad campaign of arrests was launched in 16 cities targeting 46 lawyers, in the context of the case against the Koma Civakên Kurdistan (KCK, Union of Communities in Kurdistan). The Turkish authorities regard the KCK as the local branch of the banned Kurdish labour party PKK. The majority of the suspected lawyers is (or was) involved in the defence of Abdullah Öcalan. According to the office of the prosecutor, the suspects have communicated instructions from Öcalan to his supporters. The lawyers are accused of “working for, or belonging to, a terrorist organisation.” It seems that those accusations are merely based on legitimate professional activities of the lawyers involved.

After the closure of the special courts and the lowering of the maximum period of pre-trial detention to five years,  the last nine lawyers and a journalist were released on March 18, 2014, after spending almost 2 ½ years in pre-trial detention.

Both hearings were adjourned to May 2014.

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