The Haldane Society of Socialist Lawyers has written an open letter to the President of Turkey expressing grave concern over charges against their colleague Ramazan Demir, a lawyer and member of the Istanbul Bar who is facing disciplinary charges for allegedly “offending the dignity of a public authority in the performance of its duties” while defending his client in court during the KCK trial of 44 journalists in Istanbul.
To: President of Turkey, Mr. Abdullah Gül, Cumhurbaskanligi 06100 Ankara, Turkey; Email: email@example.com
27 November 2013
Letter of Concern regarding Av. Ramazan Demir/Istanbul Bar
Dear Mr. President,
On behalf of the Haldane Society of Socialist Lawyers I am writing to express our serious concern about the charges against our colleague Advocate Ramazan Demir. We know Adv. Demir as a highly responsible lawyer and we are greatly concerned to hear of these attacks on his professional integrity.
Campaign Against Criminalising Communities (CAMPACC), Statewatch, National Union of Journalists (NUJ), Campaign for Press and Broadcasting Freedom (CPBF), Haldane Society of Socialist Lawyers invite you to a
PANEL DISCUSSION ON
State Surveillance, Counter-Terror Powers
and Global Securitisation Strategies
Tuesday 10 December 2013, 6.30-8.30pm
Venue: National Union of Journalists, 308-312 Gray’s Inn Road, London WC1X 8DP
Speakers: Michelle Stanistreet, General Secretary, National Union of Journalists (NUJ); Tony Bunyan, Director, Statewatch, journalist and author the The Shape of things to Come; Rob Evans, Guardian journalist and co-author with Paul Lewis of Undercover: the True Story of Britain’s Secret Police; Matthew Ryder QC, Matrix Chambers, representing David Miranda; Dr Nafeez Ahmed author, investigative journalist, international security scholar, environment writer for The Guardian; latest book, A User’s Guide to the Crisis of Civilization: And How to Save It. Les Levidow, CAMPACC
Chair: Kat Craig, Reprieve, Legal Director of the Abuses in Counter-Terrorism (ACT) and Vice-Chair of Haldane Society of Socialist Lawyers
This week we received information about two important petitions that need your support.
The first is a Change.org petition for Selçuk Kozağaçlı and his colleagues at the Progressive Lawyers’ Association in Turkey who have been in detention without bail since their arrest in January this year:
AVUKATIM/MESLEKTAŞIM DERHÂL SERBEST BIRAKILSIN! RELEASE MY LAWYER/COLLEAGUE RİGHT NOW!
Read more about the arrests here
The second calls for justice for journalists in Turkey and is one the European Federation of Journalists’ (EFJ) many efforts in the last two years to oppose government repression of journalists and media workers in Turkey:
Justice for Journalists in Turkey
Journalists are not terrorists. The justice system in Turkey has failed its journalists.
To find out more about theEFJ’s Set Journalists Free in Turkey campaign, go to their website.
Please sign the petitions and share widely!
Update and background information on the Pinar Selek case:
THE NIGHTMARE HAS ENTERED ITS 15TH YEAR
Approximately for the last fifteen years, a nightmare is imposed on Pinar Selek, her family and all of us who are waiting for justice. This case which has stopped being a legal mistake or a defect, and turned into a massacre of the law, has entered its 15th year.
The course of events when Pinar Selek was chosen as a target started during her research on the Kurdish Issue in 1997. Under the conditions of that period, her interviewing the parties of that conflict in order to understand and recount the conditions of the war and why peace couldn’t be made was not only brave but also dangerous. It was a time of the ‘memorandums’ which were later admitted as sham by the makers themselves, and when tanks strolled in the streets of the capital, Ankara, in order to ‘fine-tune’. The state was determined to solve the Kurdish Issue by war and by crushing it. Within this period, Pinar Selek was taken into custody by the Police Department on July 11th 1998, was heavily tortured and her research was confiscated because she refused to give the names of those she had interviewed. Continue reading “Pinar Selek case reaches 15th year”
This week a UK delegation of six barristers and solicitors travelled to Istanbul to observe the sixth hearing of the KCK trial of lawyers, a major anti-terror trial in which 46 lawyers representing Kurdish leader Abdullah Ocalan are being tried on mass for their association with him as their client.
In this hearing the final 16 defendants whose case had not yet been heard were able to present their defence. None were released on bail, and so must endure continued imprisonment on top of the 22 months they have already spent in pre-trial detention until the next hearing, scheduled for 19 December.
The delegates included international human rights barristers Margaret Owen OBE, Hugo Charlton, and Mark Jones of St Ives Chambers, as well as Tooks Chambers’ Bronwen Jones and Law Society Human Rights Committee member, Tony Fisher and Ali Has, solicitor and representative of the Law Society Human Rights Committee International Action Team.
We will bring you reports and statements by the delegates in the near future. In the meantime, Margaret Owen has written three blog posts giving her observations of the highly political hearing, which are below.
All of our delegates reports and statements on the trials, as well as our actions here in the UK to bring the issue to wider attention, can be found on the International Observation of the KCK trial of Kurdish Lawyers page.
27 March, 2013
Press release: for immediate release
The deputy head of the Confederation of Kurdish Associations in Europe (KON-KURD) and a member of KNK, Mr. Yilmaz Orkan, were arrested yesterday morning at the Zaventem airport in Brussels by Belgian police on behalf of their Spanish colleagues.
Yilmaz Orkan was on his way to Tunisia and the World Social Forum (WSF) which provides a platform that enables encounters between women and the men who struggle to build democracy, equality for all, solidarity, justice and peace, to protect the environment and commons. Orkan’s work, his diplomatic efforts and lobbying for a peaceful solution to the Kurdish question are well known to the European Parliament, the European Council and the international community. It seems that despite the ongoing political peace talks between Mr. Abdullah Öcalan and the Turkish government, dark political forces swipe Europe. Orkan’s arrest is just another attempt to curry favor to the campaign against the PKK and its so-called “terrorism” in Europe. The arrest of Yilmaz Orkan follows the case of the imprisoned Kurdish diplomat Adem Uzun who was detained in Paris October 2012. Continue reading “EUTCC calls for the release of Yilmaz Orkan”
CONFEDERATION OF KURDISH ASSOCIATIONS IN EUROPE (KON-KURD)
RELEASE KURDISH DIPLOMAT MR YILMAZ ORKAN
Press Release: for immediate release, 27 March 2013
We condemn the arrest of Mr Yilmaz Orkan, the vice president of the Confederation of Kurdish Associations in Europe (KON-KURD) which has 12 federations and 165 associations in Europe, Australia, and Canada. Mr Orkan is a deputy head for the last three years and also a member of the Kurdish National Congress (KNK). Mr Orkan was detained on 24 March 2013 in the Zaventem Airport/Brussels and then put in Belgium Forest Prison by the Belgian police at the request of Spain’s National Court. Mr Orkan was on his way to Tunisia to attend to the World Social Forum 2013.
Chair of Garden Court International and member of Haldane Society of Socialist Lawyers, Richard Harvey, recently met with lawyers in Turkey to discuss the arrest and imprisonment of dozens of Kurdish and Turkish lawyers on terrorism charges. He has kindly given us permission to reproduce his report into these meetings here.
Further addenda to his report can be downloaded here.
REPORT OF MEETINGS WITH TURKISH LAWYERS
ISTANBUL 24-25 FEBRUARY 2013
BY RICHARD HARVEY
Garden Court Chambers
57-60 Lincoln’s Inn Fields
London WC2A 3LJ
- Having read many recent reports of mass arrests of lawyers, trade union leaders and other human rights defenders in Turkey, I arranged to meet with a number of lawyers during my recent visit to Istanbul. I am particularly grateful for the assistance of Mr. Thomas Schmidt, Secretary General of ELDH, to Ms. Adrie van de Streek, Managing Director of L4L, and to Ms. Ayse Bingol for arranging these meetings.
- The history of the Turkish government’s targeting of criminal defence lawyers has been well documented by ELDH, L4L, IADL, Haldane and others. My purpose was to learn about the most recent developments following the mass arrests of 85 human rights defenders, including 15 lawyers, on 18 January 2013.
- Continue reading “Meetings with Turkish Lawyers in Istanbul – Report by Richard Harvey”
Lawyers on Trial in Turkey: Implications for Establishing Peace and Justice
Report of the public meeting held in Parliament by David Morgan, Peace in Kurdistan Campaign
4 March 2013
In Turkey today lawyers are being locked up simply for doing their job of representing their clients. The abuse of legality has gone so far that lawyers seeking to represent imprisoned lawyers are themselves being prosecuted. At present more than 50 lawyers in Turkey are in jail, of whom the majority are former members of Kurdish leader Abdullah Ocalan’s legal team.
These and other deeply worrying facts were discussed at a briefing meeting, hosted by Lord Kennedy and chaired by solicitor advocate Ali Has, which was held in the Wilson Room, Portcullis House, Westminster, on 28 February.
The meeting was organised by Peace in Kurdistan supported by Haldane Society of Socialist Lawyers the European Lawyers for Democracy and Human Rights (ELDH) and CAMPACC and it was addressed by a distinguished panel of human rights lawyers including Michael Mansfield QC, Professor Bill Bowring and Margaret Owen OBE.