Lawyers’ Rights Watch Canada calls for release of convicted lawyers in Turkey

Most of the Turkish lawyers were convicted of “willingly and knowingly aiding terrorist organization” after offering legal representation

Lawyers’ Rights Watch Canada calls for release of convicted lawyers in Turkey
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A group of Canadian lawyers has urged the government of Turkey to release convicted members of the country’s Contemporary Lawyers’ Association (ÇHD) whose sentences have been described as “draconian and grossly excessive.”

Lawyers’ Rights Watch Canada, an organization for Canadian lawyers to promote human rights and the rule of law internationally, wrote an Oct. 22 letter addressed to Turkey’s Justice Minister Abdulhamit Gül. The letter said that the convictions and sentences faced ÇHD members are “contrary to international human rights law, contrary to Turkey’s constitution, and contrary to basic principles of fairness and justice.”

Most of the Turkish lawyers were convicted of “willingly and knowingly aiding terrorist organization” after offering legal representation to persons accused of being members of a terrorist organization or threatening national security.

Last week, the Istanbul Regional Court of Justice 2nd Penal Chamber (Court of Appeals) rejected the appeals and confirmed the sentences imposed in March by the Istanbul 37th Heavy Penal Court on lawyers who are members of the ÇHD.

An international delegation of lawyers from the European Association of Lawyers for Democracy & Human Rights, after observing the March trial that imposed the convictions and sentences, noted that the proceedings were marred by irregularities and concluded that the “trial is completely null and void.”

“The alleged crimes that underlie these convictions would not be considered crimes in any country governed by the rule of law,” wrote Gail Davidson, executive director of LRWC. “We urge you to intervene to ensure the release of those sentenced and the vacation and nullification of the convictions and sentences imposed.”

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