Thank you, Mr. President, MRAP calls on the attention of the Council on the systematic and serious violations of fundamental freedoms and rights In Turkey, where thousands of lawyers, judges, journalists, academics, and politicians have been arrested.
Lawyers are criminalized for the practice of their profession and are charged with the same offences as their clients even without any evidences being presented against them. The right to a fair trial is severely impaired.
The prosecutions of lawyers in the frame of the anti-terrorism law are generally based on statements made by lawyers at press conferences or when participating to demonstrations. According to a study1 , the Turkish government opened 1546 investigations against lawyers and 274 of them were convicted of being members of a terrorist organization.
In south-eastern Turkey in particular, lawyers are directly registered by the security forces. In these cases, the courts prevent lawyers from accessing their clients’ files and to practice their profession. This has led to the three major lawyers’ associations being closed and banned by decree laws. Many lawyers are prevented from meeting their clients in prisons, and the right to counsel is not applied.
MRAP calls on the attention of the Special Rapporteur on the independence of the judiciary on the violations of the basic rights of jurists and lawyers in Turkey.
Thank you for your attention.
3 July 2019
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