August 23rd, 2016 § § permalink
On 19 August 2016, the CCBE wrote a letter to President Erdoğan to express its concerns regarding the situation of lawyers in the country following the coup attempt of 15 July.
On 26 July, the Adana Bar Association reportedly released a statement referring to the “fear” and “concern” about possible reprisals felt by lawyers in Adana, the decision made by some not to provide legal assistance to people detained in relation to the failed coup, and the negative treatment they faced from the police and prosecutors if they represented the detainees. On 28 July, the CCBE was informed that about 50 lawyers were held incommunicado in Istanbul, with no access to legal representation. The CCBE was also made aware of the cases of lawyers Deniz Sürgüt and Orhan Kemal Cengiz, respectively tortured in detention and banned from travelling.
Furthermore, the CCBE expressed concerns about a government decree of 27 July allowing prosecutors to bar detainees from meeting with a lawyer during the first five days of police custody. A decree published on 23 July had already placed restrictions on the right to private communications with lawyers for suspects in cases of terrorism and organised crime, and reserved the authorities’ right to appoint another lawyer to represent the detainee.
A copy of the letter can be acessed here.
See also ‘International Organisations Issue Statement of Concern Regarding Turkey’s Post-coup Crackdown’ and ‘The CCBE voiced its concerns over the dismissal of judges in Turkey‘.
August 1st, 2016 § § permalink
28 July 2016, as a follow-up to new cases of lawyers’ rights violations in Ukraine, the CCBE sent a letter to the President of Ukraine, Petro Poroshenko. The reported violations that were brought to the CCBE’s attention include, but are not limited to: physical violence, violation of human and professional rights, unlawful search and seizure, refusal of an access to a client, unlawful wiretapping and identifying a lawyer with a client.
Given the crucial role of lawyers in the administration of justice, and in the maintaining and defence of the rule of law, the CCBE condemned the aforementioned violations. It pointed out that, in many of the cases mentioned, it was law enforcement authorities that committed the abuses. In this context, the CCBE stressed the importance of safeguarding lawyers’ rights, as their violation will inevitably have an impact on the right of Ukrainian citizens to a fair trial, as enshrined in the European Convention of Human Rights. As the lawyers are central in ensuring the protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms, the CCBE respectfully asked the Ukrainian authorities to investigate the facts mentioned in the letter, and to take all measures to prevent future abuses.
August 1st, 2016 § § permalink
On 26 July 2016, together with the European Bars Federation (FBE) and the International Association of Lawyers (UIA), the CCBE has issued a joint statement expressing concerns over the disregard for the rule of law, democracy, human rights and fundamental freedoms in Turkey, in the aftermath of the failed coup and the state of emergency which was recently declared.
The organisations are extremely alarmed by the ongoing purge within the judiciary. They recalled that there can be no derogation from the following articles: Article 2 (Right to life), Article 3 (Prohibition of torture and inhumane or degrading treatment or punishment), Article 4 para. 1 (Prohibition of slavery), Article 7 (No punishment without law).
The CCBE, FBE and UIA underline that any statement by President Erdoğan that he would allow for a reinstatement of the death penalty is contrary to Turkey’s obligations under international law and its membership in the Council of Europe.