Please join us at the Turkish Embassy at 12:00pm on 24 January 2019 for the Day of the Endangered Lawyer protest.
The Day of the Endangered Lawyer is the day on which we turn the spotlight on lawyers all over the world who are being harassed, silenced, pressured, threatened, persecuted, tortured. Murders and enforced disappearances as well are not out of the ordinary. The only reason for these outrages is the fact that these lawyers are doing their job, and fulfilling their professional obligations, when they are needed the most.
The 24th of January was chosen to be the annual International Day of the Endangered Lawyer because on this day in 1977 four labour rights lawyers and a coworker were murdered at their office address at Calle Atocha 55 in Madrid. This is known as the Massacre of Atocha.
The International Day of the Endangered Lawyer aims, on the one hand, to create awareness that the practice of the legal profession in many countries involves significant risks, including that of being murdered, but it aims as well at denouncing the situation in a particular country, where lawyers are victims of serious violations of their fundamental rights because they exercise their profession.
Every year on 24 January lawyers’ organisations dedicate this day to the endangered lawyers in a particular country: 2010 Iran, 2012 Turkey, 2013 Basque Country/Spain, 2014 Colombia, 2015 Philippines, 2016 Honduras, 2017 China & Egypt. The European Democratic Lawyers (AED-EDL) established the Day of the Endangered Lawyer in 2010. Since then it has been coorganized by AED-EDL and the European Association of Lawyers for Democracy (ELDH) and the foundation “The Day of the Endangered Lawyer”. Many other lawyers’ organisations and bar associations have supported this project. In 2019 the Day of the Endangered Lawyer focuses on the endangered lawyers in Turkey.
There are around 78 separate criminal prosecutions and investigations against human rights lawyers. Hundreds of lawyers are charged within these criminal procedures. Most of them are under judicial control with a ban from travelling abroad or with the duty to give signature to the police headquarter on certain days of the week. A
In all the cases which have been chosen as examples (see the attached Report) lawyers were accused just because of practising their profession. By so doing, the Turkish State systematically violates the UN Basic Principles on the Role of Lawyers and it is obvious that this violation has direct impacts on the right of defence.