24 November 2023
Antonio Fraticelli, lawyer at the Bologna Bar, represented the International Observatory for Lawyers in Danger in Istanbul, alongside 21 other NGOs and Bar associations, to show international solidarity with lawyers in Turkey who are being prosecuted, sentenced and imprisoned for practising their profession.
Legal professionals, and in particular lawyers, are subject to harassment, arbitrary detention, unfair trials and even torture because of their commitment to human rights.
Since 2013, the Observatory has been closely following the trial of 22 lawyers affiliated to the progressive lawyers’ association ÇHD. In November 2022, heavy sentences were handed down against these committed lawyers.
The Observatory continues to monitor the situation of lawyers, in particular those currently in detention: it is in this context that visits were made to nine lawyers, members of ÇHD, detained in four separate prisons (between 5 November 2023 and 10 November 2023). In addition to these prison visits, the purpose of the mission was to observe two hearings, that of ÖHD (Lawyers’ Association for Freedom) on 7 November 2023 and that of Gülhan Kaya, a member of ÖHD, on 9 November 2023.
A joint statement has been drawn up by the participating organisations, highlighting the seriousness of the situation. Lawyers, particularly those affiliated to organisations such as the Progressive Lawyers’ Association (ÇHD) and the People’s Law Bureau (HHB), are specifically targeted because of their defence of fundamental rights. The difficult conditions include prolonged detentions, unfair trials, restricted access to their relatives, and situations of isolation.
The International Observatory for Lawyers in Danger continues to urge the Turkish government to put an end to all forms of intimidation and harassment of lawyers, stressing the importance of guaranteeing the independence of the legal profession.
As a follow-up to this mission, the Observatory plans to publish a detailed report on the situation of lawyers in Turkey. The aim of this document is to demand compliance with international standards and fundamental rights, highlighting the obstacles to the exercise of the lawyer’s profession and the situation of colleagues who are judicially harassed.
The Observatory would like to warmly thank Antonio Fraticelli and all the organisations represented for their commitment in the interests of the profession and of independent and impartial justice.