Report from the latest hearing of the trial of Ocalan’s lawyers

Tony Fisher, member of the Law Society’s Human Rights Committee, has written a report after observing the most recent hearing in the case of Abdullah Ocalan’s lawyers, who were arrested in November 2011 following simultaneous police raids across several Turkish cities. The arrest of these 45 lawyers, all of them members of Ocalan’s legal team, formed part of the so-called ‘KCK operations’, in which over 8,000 people have been arrested for alleged membership to the Kurdistan Communities Union, the KCK. 

Read a statement from Peace in Kurdistan Campaign and all the lawyers who observed the trial

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All lawyers from the Progressive Lawyers’ Association (CHD) released

News about the releases brought to you by Anadolu News Blog:



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Exactly 14 months ago the Turkish state under the AKP government launched an attack against 22 progressive lawyers of CHD and HHB. 9 lawyers, among them the president of CHD Selcuk Kozagacli, were arrested, their other colleagues were charged out of prison.

The state doesn’t have anything against them, except of their professional work. This was proven at the first trial in December, where not the court judged the lawyers, but in contrary.

Like in roulette 4 lawyers were selected and set free during the first court session, while the other 5 remained in prison.

40 democratic lawyers from Europe and thousands of lawyers in Turkey supported their charged colleagues until the end. The matchless solidarity among professionals, but also the unbending and revolutionary attitude of the lawyers have apparently forced the state to release the lawyers as abrupt as they were arrested.

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‘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.

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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.




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


  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.
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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.

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Legal Profession in Turkey under attack: Four lawyers sentenced to long prison terms

– Press Release –

On 24 January 2013, four Ankara lawyers, Ms Filiz Kalaycı,  Mr Hasan Anlar, Mr Halil İbrahim Vargün and Mr Murat Vargün received sentences ranging from  6 years and 3 months to 7 years and 6 months in jail on charges of being a member of “an armed, illegal organization”. International observers fear that these charges are merely based on the lawyers’ legitimate professional activities and their involvement in the promotion of universal human rights standards.

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CHD press release on mass arrests of lawyers

Yesterday, the Istanbul court decided that 9 lawyers, among them CHD President Selcuk Kozagacli and Chair of Istanbul Branch Taylan Tanay should be taken to prison.

They were initially arrested last week in police raids targeting the Revolutionary People’s Liberation Party/Front (DHKP/C). You can read our statement on these arrests, as well as a press release below by the Progressive Lawyers Association (CHD).

The lawyers giving a final speech to the crowd before being taken into prison
The lawyers giving a final speech to the crowd before being taken into prison


Arrest warrants were issued on January, 18 2013 against 16 lawyers on the claimed suspicion of them being members of an illegal organization and despite the lack of a suspicion that they would escape.

Today we are expecting that our colleagues who have been under police custody for the last 3 days be brought to the Public Prosecutor’s Office.

Under Turkish law and according to the Legal Practitioners Act and the Criminal Procedure Act;

Our colleagues had to be directly brought to the Public Prosecutor’s Office in Court House to give their defense statements without being taken under police custody.

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