On 18 June 2020, a fact-finding mission of European lawyers released its report on the trials of lawyers in Turkey, specifically the persecution of members of the CHD, the Progressive Lawyers’ Association. The CHD is a member organization of IADL and its imprisoned president, Selcuk Kozagacli, is a member of the IADL Bureau. The IADL participated in this fact-finding mission along with colleagues from bar associations and lawyers’ groups throughout Europe.
Download the full report and its annexes.
A group of 15 lawyers from 7 European countries met in Istanbul from 13 till 15 October 2019 for a fact-finding mission to clarify the legal circumstances that led to the conviction of the following 18 Turkish lawyers by the 37th High Criminal Court of Istanbul in March 2019:
- For “founding and leading a terrorist organization” – Barkin TIMTIK: 18 years and 9
- For “membership of a terrorist organization” – Ebru TIMTIK and Özgür YILMAZ:
13 years and 6 months – Behiç ASÇI and Sükriye ERDEN: 12 years – Selçuk KOZAGACLI (President of the ÇHD) : 11 years and 3 months – Engin GÖKOGLU, Aytac ÜNSAL and Süleyman GÖKTEN : 10 years and 6 months – Aycan ÇIÇEK and Naciye DEMIR: 9 years – Ezgi CAKIR: 8 years
- For “willfully and knowingly aiding a terrorist organization” – Aysegül CAGATAY, Yagmur EREREN, Didem Baydar ÜNSAL and Yaprak TÜRKMEN: 3 years 9 months – Zehra ÖZDEMIR and Ahmet MANDACI: 3 years, 1 month and 15 days (sentence reduced because of their presence at the hearing on 20 March 2019, unlike the other defendants).
After observing the trial, the fact-finding mission concluded that these were politically motivated prosecutions and called for action to end the injustice and free the imprisoned lawyers, urging “the immediate release of the lawyers accused in both the CHD I and the CHD II proceedings” and compliance with European and international law in regard to politically motivated trials, the independence of the judiciary and the role of prosecutors. They further urged “full respect of the Basic Principles on the Role of Lawyers, and, in particular, the immediate cessation of the harassment of human rights lawyers, the immediate cessation of identifying lawyers with their clients’ cause, and the immediate cessation of attempts to bar lawyers to act freely for the defence of their clients.”
The European lawyers of the monitoring team came from Austria, Belgium, Catalonia/Spain, Greece, Germany, France, and Italy. They represented, among others, two international associations of lawyers, two European lawyers’ organizations, the European umbrella association of bar associations, various national and regional bar associations and lawyers’ organizations.
Most of the European lawyers who participated in the fact-finding mission have already participated as observers of the mass trials of lawyers in Turkey and other politically motivated proceedings. Their main focus was on the question of whether Turkish and European law was violated in the proceedings.
The lawyers of the monitoring team represented the following organizations:
- ELDH – European Association of Lawyers for Democracy and World Human Rights
- AED-EDL – European Democratic Lawyers
- The foundation The Day of the Endangered Lawyer
- IADL – International Association of Democratic Lawyers
- Progress Lawyers Network
- Giuristi Democratici
- CCBE The Council of Bars and Law Societies of Europe
- CNB – French National Bar Council (Conseil national des barreaux)
- OIAD – Observatoire International des Avocats en Danger (The International Observatory
of Endangered Lawyers)
- UCPI – Unione delle Camere Penali Italiane
- Consiglio Nazionale Forense (Italian National Bar Association)
- DSF AS – Défense Sans frontière – Avocats Solidaires
- UIA International Association of Lawyers
- OBFG/Avocats.be (Association of French speaking Bars of Belgium)
- Paris Bar Association
- Athens Bar Association
- Barcelona Bar Association
- Berlin Bar Association
- Brussels (French-speaking) Bar Association
- Brussels (Dutch-speaking) Bar Association (NOAB)
- Liège Bar Association
- Vienna Bar Association
Read the full report of the Fact-Finding Mission: Download PDF
Download the Annexes to the Report: Download PDF