The Bar Human Rights Committee have today issued a joint letter with the Law Society and other human rights groups, calling for the release of two Turkish lawyers unlawfully and arbitrarily detained simply for doing their jobs.
The letter was submitted today to five special rapporteurs of the United Nations, including the UN Special Rapporteur on the Independence of Judges and Lawyers, and the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention.
The lawyers, Ms. Ayşe Acinikli and Mr. Ramazan Demir, have been held in pre-trial detention since 6 April 2016. Their arrest took place as part of a series of actions carried out by the Turkish state against lawyers and other human rights defenders for allegedly supporting the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK).
In the letter Kirsty Brimelow QC, Chair of the Bar Human Rights Committee, calls for the UN to urge the Turkish authorities to withdraw all charges against the two lawyers, to release them with immediate effect, and to allow lawyers and human rights defenders in Turkey to perform their professional duties without intimidation and improper interference.
The letter is also signed by the chair of the Law Society Human Rights Committee alongside representatives of Lawyers for Lawyers, the Syndicat des Avocats de France, and others.
Chair of the Law Society Human Rights Committee Tony Fisher said:
‘These arrests and detentions are further evidence of the concerted efforts which are being made by the Turkish authorities to prevent members of the legal profession in Turkey from exercising their legitimate rights to represent their clients free of interference or oppression.
‘After an extended visit to Turkey in early April 2016, the Council of Europe Human Rights commissioner emphasised how important lawyers and human rights defenders were in establishing the truth and securing redress when individual rights are violated.
‘The Law Society will continue to provide support to colleagues working in such difficult conditions and do whatever it reasonably can to ensure their plight is investigated at all levels. This communication to the UN special rapporteurs is the latest in a series of interventions made on behalf of lawyers in Turkey in recent years.’
The letter was signed by:
Tony Fisher, chair of the Human Rights Committee of the Law Society
Kirsty Brimelow QC, chair of the Bar Human Rights Committee of England and Wales
As well as by representatives of:
London Legal Group
Foundation for Society and Legal Studies (TOHAV)
Lawyers for Lawyers
Lawyers Rights Watch Canada
French delegation to the Council of Bars and Law Societies of Europe (CCBE)
Le Barreau de Limoges
Syndicat des Avocats de France
Défense sans frontière – Avocats Solidaires (DSF-AS)
(Image credit: dayanisma.net)