European Lawyers federation urge Turkey to release Kurdish lawyers


European lawyers federation AED and ELDH have urged the Turkish government to release Kurdish lawyers imprisoned in the KCK investigation. In a joint statement, they concluded the following;

We are deeply concerned about the arrests of lawyers and raids on their homes in Turkey. The arrests include defence lawyers who are engaged in the main KCK trial handled by the Diyarbakır 6th High Criminal Court. This is the latest step in a series of ongoing threats coming from courts and prosecutors in Turkey.

The lawyers took a stance against the ban of a defence in Kurdish before the Diyarbakır courts as a matter of principle and stated that they would not be able to defend their clients. Both the lawyers and the Diyarbakır Bar Association were warned by court and the prosecutors several times about “committing a crime”.

We also want to point out to the Turkish authorities that these arrests are contrary to all human rights agreements. Furthermore, these arrests seem to ignore the “Basic Principles on the Role of Lawyers” (Havana Rules) as adopted at the United Nations (UN) Congress in Havana/Cuba in 1990.

According to these rules, the government is responsible to ensure that lawyers can carry out their profession without experiencing threats, interference, harassment and inappropriate intervention. We call on the government in Turkey to release the lawyers.

Last week, 41 Kurdish lawyers were taken into custody in Istanbul in alleged association with Union of Kurdish Communities (KCK), which was founded by Abdullah Öcalan. On the 26th of November, 33 lawyers were arrested and detained in prison.