Letter on continuing judicial harassment of lawyers in Turkey
In a letter to the Turkish authorities Lawyers for Lawyers expressed concern about the continuing judicial harassment of multiple prominent human rights lawyers from Turkey.
On 12 March 2020 the houses and offices of Messrs. Özkan Avcı and Zeynep Işık from the Diyarbakır Bar Association, Messrs. Hidayet Enmek, Sevda Özbingöl Çelik, Emrah Baran, Hüseyin Izol, Metin Özbadem, Cemo Tüysüz and Şeyhmus Inal from the Şanlıurfa Bar Association, and Mr. Gürgün Kadirhan from the Şırnak Bar Association were raided and there computers were seized. The lawyers were all taken into police custody on the grounds of “assisting a terrorist organisation” through enabling communication between detainees in prison.
After being released on 17 March 2020, a travel ban had been issued for Messrs. Özkan Avcı, Zeynep Işık, Hidayet Enmek, Emrah Baran, Hüseyin Izol, Metin Özbadem, Cemo Tüysüz, Şeyhmus Inal and Gürgün Kadirhan, and in parallel, the pre-trial detention of Ms. Sevda Özbingöl Çelik had been ordered by the peace judgeship. Two other lawyers, Mehmet Akdoğan and Cevdet Demiroğlu, were arrested on 17 March 2020 under the same operation.
Lawyers for Lawyers has been continuously monitoring the situation of human rights lawyers in Turkey. Many other lawyers from Turkey are being targeted solely because they are carrying out their professional activities. The use of “mass trials” against lawyers or lawyers’ associations is frequent and fundamental rights and procedural safeguards are often not respected.
In the letter, Lawyers for Lawyers highlighted the actions that were taken against various human rights lawyers in March 2020 and called upon the Turkish authorities to:
- Immediately and unconditionally release Sevda Özbingöl Çelik, Mehmet Akdoğan and Cevdet Demiroğlu, put an end to all acts of harassment – including judicial harassment – against them and ensure that they are able to carry out their professional activities without hindrance or fear of reprisals;
- Put an end to all forms of harassment – including judicial harassment – against Özkan Avcı, Zeynep Işık, Hidayet Enmek, Emrah Baran, Hüseyin Izol, Metin Özbadem, Cemo Tüysüz, Şeyhmus Inal and Gürgün Kadirhan, and ensure that they are able to carry out their activities without hindrance or fear of reprisals;
- Guarantee in all circumstances the physical integrity and psychological well-being of Sevda Özbingöl Çelik, Mehmet Akdoğan and Cevdet Demiroğlu.
The full letter can be read here.
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