Statement of the IADL & ELDH on the assassination of Tahir Elçi

November 28, 2015

(PDF copies are available)

The International Association of Democratic Lawyers (IADL), a non-governmental organization with consultative status to the Council on Economic and Social Affairs of the United Nations (ECOSOC), and the European Association of Lawyers for Democracy & World Human Rights (ELDH) are shocked and outraged by the brutal murder this morning of our colleague Tahir Elçi, president of the Diyarbakir Bar Association.

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Haldane Society writes to Turkish Embassy ahead of Erbey trial

The Chair of Haldane Society of Socialist Lawyers wrote to the Turkish Ambassador in London yesterday expressing concern over the continued imprisonment of lawyer and human rights campaigner Muharrem Erbey.

The letter was written in response to PEN International’s call to action for Erbey, whose trial is set to continue with a hearing on the 13 January. Find out more about the campaign here.



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Amnesty International releases Human Rights Reports 2013

Amnesty International has released its report for 2013. The global update is available to read on their website, and their report on the state of human rights in Turkey can be found here.

The introduction to this years report reads:


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Turkish justice system cast into major doubt

This article was originally published in the Morning Star

by David Morgan

Grave concerns are mounting over a mass trial of lawyers in Istanbul who are being charged and tried for terrorism offences.

The 47 lawyers in the dock had represented Kurdish leader and founder of the Kurdistan Workers Party Abdullah Ocalan (pictured) who has been in jail since 1999.

Outside observers fear that the lawyers are actually being tried simply for carrying out their work as lawyers.

Evidence against them had been gathered by tapping their private meetings with Ocalan – a flagrant breach of confidentiality – and the defendants were not given full access to the prosecution case against them, impeding the preparation of their cases. Continue reading “Turkish justice system cast into major doubt”

Trials and Tribulations in Turkey

by David Morgan, Peace in Kurdistan

Turkey’s lamentable human rights record and, in particular its attempts to intimidate independent Kurdish organisations through mass show trials, was the theme of an important seminar held by Peace in Kurdistan on 18 September in Garden Court Chambers.

The briefing brought together leading legal experts, media professionals and human rights activists who had all been taking a close interest in the trials of fellow lawyers, journalists, academics and trade unionists taking place in Turkey over recent months.

The trials, which have involved the arrest of thousands of progressive and mainly Kurdish activists, and seen hundreds sent to trial, have collectively become known as the KCK trials after the Kurdistan Communities Union, an umbrella civil society association, which the Turkish state deems to be a front for terrorism.

The trials in fact amount to Turkey’s attempts to criminalise and eliminate all aspects of Kurdish legal political activity and are the state’s response to recent electoral advances made by the pro-Kurdish Peace and Democracy Party, BDP, which has been gaining strength in the largely Kurdish southeast. Continue reading “Trials and Tribulations in Turkey”

Lawyers on trial: Report on the KCK hearings

On 16 – 19 July 2012, thirty-six Kurdish lawyers, representatives of imprisoned Kurdish leader Abdullah Ocalan, were tried at Istanbul High Criminal Court. They were arrested in November 2011 and charged under the Anti-Terror Act of ‘being a member of an illegal organisation’ and ‘passing orders of Abdullah Ocalan’.  Margaret Owen OBE, barrister, human rights lawyer and patron of Peace in Kurdistan campaign travelled to Istanbul with other international colleagues to observe the mass trial. She has written a report on her observations, which you will find below. The report is also available for you download (Word doc).


Report on trial of the 36 lawyers at the Istanbul High Criminal Court, 16 – 19 July 2012

by Margaret Owen OBE, Barrister


In June, the Peace and Democracy Party (BDP) appealed for international delegates to monitor the trial of 36 Kurdish lawyers, all members of the BDP, who were arrested in November 2011 in ongoing police operations against the Kurdish Communities Union (KCK). Ali Has, a Kurdish lawyer from the UK, and I joined other international delegates from across Europe in response to the appeal. We spent three days observing the mass trial in the Special Criminal Court in Istanbul, Turkey. [1] Continue reading “Lawyers on trial: Report on the KCK hearings”

Coalition of lawyers write to the UN regarding judicial harassment in Turkey

Under the heading of the Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders, a joint letter has been written by a coalition of lawyers associations to Gabriela Carina Knaul de Albuquerque e Silva and Margaret Sekaggya, special rapporteurs on the independence of judges and on the situation of human rights defenders respectively, at the United Nations.

The letter urges them both to take action against the ongoing judicial harassment of lawyers and human rights defenders in Turkey, which has culminated in the trial of 36 lawyers representing Abdullah Ocalan in an ongoing KCK trial in Istanbul. Peace in Kurdistan has arranged for two delegates to join several others invited by the Peace and Democracy Party (BDP) to observe the trial, and we shall bring you news of their reports and reflections on their return to the UK.

Below you can read the joint press release published also on the International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH) website, and we have also made the letter itself available to download (pdf). Continue reading “Coalition of lawyers write to the UN regarding judicial harassment in Turkey”