Fabio Marcelli of the Italian Democratic Jurists’ Association and a member of the Bureau of the International Association of Democratic Lawyers (IADL) participated on 18 March in a press conference in response to the trial of 20 progressive lawyers in Turkey.
Marcelli was joined by fellow members of the delegation, including Michela Arricale, Margherita D’Andrea, Dario Rossi and Paolo Solimeno, in observing the trial of the members of the Progressive Lawyers Association (CHD), a member organization of IADL. These lawyers are facing unjust allegations of membership in an illegal organization, part of an attack upon them for defending other political prisoners in Turkey.
He participated in the press conference on behalf of the IADL and the Italian Democratic Jurists as well as the European Lawyers for Democracy and Human Rights (ELDH). In his comments, Marcelli affirmed that this trial violates several principles of the rule of law, including independence of the judiciary (the judges hearing the case were replaced after they released the defendants at the beginning of the trial; they were immediately rearrested) as well as the right to a fair trial (the evidence for the allegations is comprised of dubious documents and secret witnesses who cannot be questioned by the defense). The trial also represents an attack on the right to a legal defense (the lawyers were prosecuted because of their legal work, in clear violation of UN principles prohibiting the intimidation of lawyers or identifying them with their clients.)
Six Turkish progressive lawyers, among them the president of CHD, Selçuk Kozağaçlı, remain in detention. Their defense is being led by hundreds of lawyers from the largest bar associations in the country.