On 1 June 2020, 365 lawyers from 21 countries addressed petitions in four languages to the Court of Cassation of Turkey, calling for the acquittal of their colleagues from the Progressive Lawyers Association (CHD) and the People’s Law Bureau (HHB), prosecuted and arrested in Turkey.
The CHD is a member association of the International Association of Democratic Lawyers, and Selçuk Kozagaçli, one of the imprisoned lawyers, is a Bureau member of the IADL.
As the petitions were submitted, the Court of Cassation announced that it is now examining the case of the imprisoned lawyers, which means that a decision may be expected in the case in no longer than a month.
The CHD and HHB lawyers were sentenced in March 2019 to a total of 159 years in prison, because they provided legal defense to political prisoners in Turkish jails, essentially criminalizing the practice of the legal profession. They are appealing their unjust conviction to the Court of Cassation.
The 365 international petitions join 400 more submitted by lawyers from Turkey to the Court of Cassation. All call for the reversal of the judgment against them and the release of the imprisoned human rights lawyers. Among the wide range of international signatories included many IADL bureau members, chairs of bar associations and representatives of legal organizations.
Petitions were submitted from lawyers in a wide range of countries, including the United States, Germany, Austria, Belgium, Benin, Bulgaria, Democratic Republic of Congo, France, Haiti, India, the UK, Spain, Italy, Japan, Catalonia, Lebanon, Poland, Romania and Togo.
Eight of the CHD and HHB lawyers are currently imprisoned, including: Selçuk Kozagaçli, Bahiç Asçi, Barkin Timtik, Ebru Timtik, Oya Aslan, Engin Gökoglu, Aycan Çiçek, Aytaç Ünsal. Of these, Ebru Timtik has been on a hunger strike for 152 days, while Aytaç Ünsal has been on hunger strike for 120 days.
If you are a lawyer, you still have the chance to file a petition to support these unjustly imprisoned human rights lawyers. The CHD advocates’ lawyers will submit a new set of petitions on 10 June. If you would like to add your petition to the submission, please send it to Serife Ceren Uysal at firstname.lastname@example.org before Tuesday, 9 June 2020.
The petitions for you to download and sign are linked below. Please note that no petition may be submitted unless it contains a real or electronic signature. In order to submit a petition, please print the document, sign it, scan it and send it to email@example.com after signing to ensure your petition is eligible for submission to Turkey’s Court of Cassation.
Download the petitions: