Law Society questions investigations into Elci’s death

The President of the Law Society, Jonathan Smithers, has written an official letter to the Justice Minister of Turkey, Kenan Ipek, with his concerns about the investigation into Tahir Elci’s assassination in November 2015.

The well-known human rights lawyer was shot dead in broad daylight, soon after having made a statement calling for an end to the curfews and state sanctioned violence in Kurdish cities at a press conference. The Law Society president raises concerns about lost evidence, witness  statements and possible interferences in the investigations.

To read the letter download it here

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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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

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President of the Law Society writes to Erdogan

The President of the Law Society of England and Wales, Lucy Scott-Moncrieff, has written an open letter to PM Erdogan, with her concerns about the repeated violation of human rights suffered by lawyers in Turkey over the last year.

You can download a copy of the letter here (pdf)

 

 

 

 

 

Time for justice and a roadmap towards reconciliation

EVENT

20 February 2013, The Law Society, London

Background


In the early 1990’s the Turkish authorities were responsible for the wholesale destruction of over 3,000 villages in South
East Turkey, together with many other human rights violations against a Kurdish minority of some 20 million people.
Nearly 20 years later, and despite numerous judgments of the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR), very few of the
perpetrators have been brought to justice. Much international criticism is also still focused on Turkey’s failure to address
the need to respect the cultural and language rights of the Kurdish people, and the “Kurdish Problem” remains one of the
greatest challenges faced by Turkey in its efforts to become an effective modern democracy with appropriate respect for
human rights, due process, and the rule of law. Continue reading

Joint statement by international observers of the lawyers’ KCK trial

We, as international lawyers representing the undersigned organisations, were in Silivri (Turkey) to observe the continuation of the trial of our colleagues: 46 Kurdish lawyers and 3 members of their staff.

We summarise our concerns around the following issues;

The first hearing for this trial, which started in July 2012 in Istanbul, was monitored by these international lawyers also.

On the 6th November 2012 we observed the second hearing in Silivri/Istanbul.

The dominant issue for the court, the right to use the Kurdish language in defending the indictment charges was yet again denied. This was despite submissions advanced by the defence lawyers and the proposed new changes in the law by the ministry of justice relating to the use of the mother tongue in the law courts.

The right to use the mother tongue has been a central issue in this trial (as in other KCK trials). Its prohibition has recently led to hundreds of Kurdish prisoners joining unlimited hunger strikes in protest. Several of the hunger strikers have now reached their 58th day and are nearing death. On the 6th November we learnt that the lawyers on trial have also now joined the hunger strikes, as have another one thousand political prisoners. Continue reading

KCK lawyers’ trial: Report by Tony Fisher

The following report was written by Tony Fisher, from the Human Rights Committee of the Law Society, who participated in a UK delegation of lawyers to Istanbul this week. The delegation observed the latest hearing of the KCK lawyers’ trial, which was eventually adjourned until the new year.

The report was originally published on the Law Society website. More reports from the delegation will follow.

KCK TRIAL OF KURDISH LAWYERS – ISTANBUL 6TH NOVEMBER 2012

Background

In November 2011 mass arrests of some 46 Kurdish and Turkish lawyers took place in raids carried out simultaneously in many Turkish cities and provinces.

The arrest of these lawyers is linked with many thousands of other arrests which have taken place, mainly of Kurdish Turkish nationals, since 2009. Most of those arrested have had some connection with a Kurdish organisation established by Abdullah Ocalan, namely the union of Communities in Kurdestan (otherwise known as the KCK). The trials of these individuals, including the lawyers trials, have become known as the KCK trials. In all some 8,000 defendants have been charged with terrorist offences. They include politicians, journalists, academics and other human rights defenders as well as the lawyers. Continue reading