Legal chiefs call on Turkey to release lawyers jailed in wake of failed coup



President Erdogan

Leaders of legal professions across Europe have called on Turkey to release more than 100 lawyers who were jailed in the wake of a failed coup against President Erdogan in 2016, The Brief reports.

They said 103 lawyers were sentenced to “long-term imprisonment” while more than 1,500 have been prosecuted.

A letter from the International Bar Association, Law Society of England and Wales and the Bar Council called on the Erdogan government to end its state of emergency.

It stated that Turkey should “reinstate constitutional guarantees of the right to liberty and security of person, fair trial and due process” while safeguarding “the independence of the legal profession”.

The letter refers to Kemal Ucar, arrested last month while representing officers accused of involvement in the coup as well as Taner Kilic, a lawyer and the chairman of the board of Amnesty International Turkey, who has been detained since June 2017.

“The continuing imprisonment of lawyers and judges on spurious charges, in deteriorating conditions and with denial of basic rights to access to lawyers and family contact, is a stain upon Turkey’s international standing,” said Kirsty Brimelow QC, chairwoman of the Bar’s human rights committee and a lawyer at Doughty Street Chambers in London.

“Patterns can be identified which show targeting of those who act in rights cases. The courts appeared to be too cowed or controlled to apply due process. Turkey must start to comply with the international law it has ratified and states need to do more to hold it to account.”