Lawyers’ associations rally around arrested colleagues in Istanbul

After the arrests on Tuesday of at least 47 lawyers at Caglayan Court in Istanbul who were issuing a statement regarding the Gezi Park protests, the European Association for Democracy and Human Rights (ELDH); the Bar Human Rights Committee (BHRC); and the Law Society of England and Wales have all issued statements in support of their colleagues.

All three statements are available below.

European Association for Democracy and Human Rights

London – Düsseldorf, 12 June 2013
Press release
European Lawyers protest

Continue reading “Lawyers’ associations rally around arrested colleagues in Istanbul”

‘The Kurdish Question in Turkey’ – Conference Report

“On Wednesday 17 April 2013 the Law School and the ISCTSJ at Queen’s University Belfast hosted a one-day conference entitled ‘The Kurdish Question in Turkey’. The aim of this multi-disciplinary conference was to bring together legal experts, academics, politicians, journalists and grass-roots activists to ignite debate on the Kurdish question in Turkey, particularly from a human rights perspective. The ‘question’ concerns the Turkish-Kurdish conflict. A dispute concerning the rights of Kurds in Turkey, which has spanned over three decades and involved systematic violations of civil, political and socio-economic rights.
The conference dealt with three issues – ‘Democracy Deferred, the Continuing Challenges – Political Trials, Identity and Human Rights’, ‘Victimization of Kurds by the Current Turkish Law’ and ‘Constructive and Peaceful Solution to the Kurdish Question in Turkey’. Eleven speakers presented on these issues to an audience of over 80 participants. The conference, which occurred within weeks of the latest PKK ceasefire, came at a particularly propitious time, thus leading to a number of lively discussions.”

Participants included Peace in Kurdistan patron Margaret Owen OBE, distinguished lawyer from Turkey Ercan Kanar, and head of the BDP Foreign Affairs Commission Nasmi Gur – plus may more.

The report is available for download.

Also, audio-visual recordings from the conference are available at the HR Conference QUB Youtube Channel. The recordings are also gradually being uploaded to the HR Conference QUB Vimeo channel, which we hope to have completed by the end of May.

If you have any further queries you can contact Dennis Arbet Nejbir and Hannah Russell from the organising commmittee at this address [email protected].

Lawsuit against Istanbul Bar President to begin on 17 May

On 17 May 2013, the President of the Istanbul Bar Association Ümit Kocasakal and nine other board members will appear in court having been charged with attempting to influence the judicial process in the Bayloz (‘Slegehammer’) case.

Below we reproduce a press release published in February by the Istanbul Bar Association in reaction to the charges. And we have also made a number of related documents available for download: the full indictment against the lawyers; a press release by the Presidency of the Istanbul Bar; the final resolution from the Bar’s General Assembly, which took place on 17 March 2013; and a document of  selected articles from the Turkish Criminal Code of relevance to the case.

Continue reading “Lawsuit against Istanbul Bar President to begin on 17 May”

BHRC launches latest report into KCK lawyers trial

Melanie Gingell, barrister from Tooks Chambers and member of the Bar Human Rights Committee, has written a report into the fourth hearing of the ongoing KCK  trial of 46 lawyers in Istanbul, which took place on 28 March 2013. Further observations of the hearing have already been provided by Margaret Owen and Tony Fisher, who joined Melanie at the Silivri court house as international monitors.

The report has been published on the BHRC website, where it is available for download.

The trials continues on 20 June 2013.

Mass trials of lawyers and politicians in Turkey – Legal and political obstacles to the resolution of the Kurdish conflict

PANEL DISCUSSION

Mass trials of lawyers and politicians in Turkey –

 Legal and political obstacles to the resolution of the Kurdish conflict

Thursday 18 April 2013, 6.30pm

Tooks Chambers, 81 Farringdon St, City of London, London EC4A 4BL

This event is free and open to the public.

Two distinguished lawyers, former president of the Turkish Human Rights Association (HRA) Ms Reyhan Yalcindag, and renowned defence lawyer Mr Ercan Kanar, as well as Prof Nazan Ustundag, of Boğaziçi University, will be visiting London to take part in this panel discussion. Following their participation in a conference at Queens University Belfast on the Kurdish question in Turkey, we are pleased to invite these lawyers, academics and activists to share their considerable expertise with us. The event has been called by Peace in Kurdistan campaign, CAMPACC and the Kurdish Federation UK, and will be chaired by Ali Has, solicitor advocate and member of the Law Society Human Rights Committee.

Continue reading “Mass trials of lawyers and politicians in Turkey – Legal and political obstacles to the resolution of the Kurdish conflict”

‘Kurdish language allowed in court’: Margaret Owen reports from the fourth hearing of the lawyers trial

Below is a report written by Margaret Owen OBE, who last week acted as an international observer at the fourth hearing of a trial of 46 lawyers, being prosecuted as part of the KCK anti-terror trials. Ms Owen, a human rights barrister and a member of the Bar Human Rights Committee, was also joined by Ali Has, solicitor-advocate and member of the Law Society’s international human rights team; Melanie Gingell, barrister and representative of the Bar Human Rights Committee (BHRC); and lawyer Tony Fisher, a member of Law Society’s Human Rights Committee.

Further reports from the other delegates will follow in due course.

Kurdish language allowed in Court…

March 28th Thursday at last! The Kurdish language can be spoken in a Turkish court. Just 4 bailed. 22 remain in prison. Not much change.

Continue reading “‘Kurdish language allowed in court’: Margaret Owen reports from the fourth hearing of the lawyers trial”

Meetings with Turkish Lawyers in Istanbul – Report by Richard Harvey

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[1]

Garden Court Chambers
57-60 Lincoln’s Inn Fields
London WC2A 3LJ

INTRODUCTION

  1. 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,[2] to Ms. Adrie van de Streek, Managing Director of L4L,[3] and to Ms. Ayse Bingol for arranging these meetings.
  2. 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.
  3. Continue reading “Meetings with Turkish Lawyers in Istanbul – Report by Richard Harvey”

Lawyers on Trial in Turkey, meeting report

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.

Continue reading “Lawyers on Trial in Turkey, meeting report”

Event: Lawyers on Trial in Turkey – Implications for Establishing Peace and Justice

Peace in Kurdistan Campaign supported by the Haldane Society of Socialist Lawyers, European Lawyers for Democracy and Human Rights (ELDH) and CAMPACC

Public Meeting

“Lawyers on Trial in Turkey: Implications for Establishing Peace and Justice”

Thursday, 28 February, 6.30-8pm

Wilson Room, Portcullis House, Westminster, SW1

IMPORTANT Please try and arrive at 6pm to make sure you leave enough time to get through security

Hosted by Siobhain McDonagh MP

Speakers: Michael Mansfield QC, President of the Haldane Society of Socialist Lawyers

Prof Bill Bowring, President of the European Lawyers for Democracy and Human Rights (ELDH)

Melanie Gingell, barrister Tooks Chambers and member of the Bar Human Rights Committee: observed hearings in Turkey on 6 November 2012 and 3 January 2013

Margaret Owen OBE, barrister and member of the Bar Human Rights Committee: observed hearings in Turkey on 16 July 2012 and 6 November 2012

Chaired by Ali Has, Solicitor Advocate

Continue reading “Event: Lawyers on Trial in Turkey – Implications for Establishing Peace and Justice”