Mass Arrest of Turkish Lawyers

The Haldane Society of Socialist Lawyers expresses its utmost concern about the new mass arrests of Lawyers in Turkey.

 The image in this article is the logo of the Progressive Lawyers’ Association (ÇHD).

The image in this article is the logo of the Progressive Lawyers’ Association (ÇHD).

According to the Turkish media police forces launched raids in seven provinces early this morning against the Revolutionary People's Liberation Party/Front (DHKP/C).  Fifty-five people, including 15 lawyers, were detained in the raids on suspicion of links with the organization. Nine of fifteen lawyers are reportedly members of the Progressive Lawyers’ Association (ÇHD), including an executive board member of the association, Güçlü Sevimli, and Istanbul branch head Taylan Tanay.  An arrest warrant has also been issued for the ÇHD President, Selçuk Kozağaçlı, after police failed to locate him during the raid. 

ÇHD has for many years been a sister organisation to the Haldane Society through the European Lawyers for Democracy and Human Rights. Its President, our colleague Selçuk  Kozağaçlı, was an invited speaker to the Haldane Society's conference on Defending Human Rights Defenders in February 2012.

This is the second wave of arrests carried out by the Turkish authorities: mass arrests were carried out in 2012 against 46 lawyers accused of getting orders from Öcalan, transmitting the orders to the alleged [KCK] organization, leading to actions as a result of such orders and informing Öcalan about the results.

By arresting these lawyers the Turkish State not only prevents them from exercising their professional duties but also denies their clients the right to be represented by a lawyer of their choice. Both acts are a violation of human rights, under the European Convention of Human Rights Art. 6, Para 2, c and the UN Basic Principles on the Role of Lawyers, 1, ” All persons are entitled to call upon the assistance of a lawyer of their choice”, and 18, “Lawyers shall not be identified with their clients or their clients' causes as a result of discharging their functions.”

The Haldane Society demands:

  1. The immediate release of the arrested lawyers.
  2. That lawyers shall not be identified with their clients or their clients' causes as a result of discharging their functions.
  3. The Turkish State shall ensure that lawyers (a) are able to perform all of their professional functions without intimidation, hindrance, harassment or improper interference; (b) are able to travel and to consult with their clients freely both within their own country and abroad; and (c) shall not suffer, or be threatened with, prosecution or administrative, economic or other sanctions for any action taken in accordance with recognized professional duties, standards and ethics.
  4. The full implementation of all International and all European law ratified by Turkey concerning the right to a fair trial, i.e. Art. 14 International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, Art. 6 European Convention on Human Rights.
  5. The full implementation of the Basic Principles on the Role of Lawyers i.e. Art. 7, 8, 16, 182. That all persons arrested or detained, with or without criminal charge, shall have prompt access to a lawyer, and in any case not later than forty-eight hours from the time of arrest or detention.

The Haldane Society within its resources will give the arrested lawyers all possible assistance.