Next hearing in the trial against 46 lawyers
The “lawyers’ trial” is one of three mass trials which started in July 2012 in Istanbul. There are many mass trials in other Turkish towns, all are related to the “KCK operation” of the Turkish Government with about 8.000 arrests. Turkish Minister of Justice Sadullah Ergin, in his answer to the parliamentary question by Peace and Democracy Party (BDP) MP Emine Ayna, stated that 2,146 people are tried within the scope of the Kurdish Communities Union (KCK) investigations in Turkey. Among the KCK suspects, 992 are in prison and 274 are elected representatives, according to figures by the Ministry of Justice.
On July 16, 2012, a trial against 46 lawyers from the Ağrı, Ardahan, Batman, Bursa, Diyarbakır, Denizli, Hakkari, İstanbul, İzmir, Kars, Mersin, Muş, Siirt, Şırnak, Urfa, Van Bar Associations, together with one journalist and three staff working for a law firm, started before the İstanbul Heavy Penal Court No. 6. 22 of them remain in pre-trial detention since November 2011.
All indicted lawyers have been involved in the legal representation of Abdullah Öcalan, leader of the armed Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) and have been accused of “passing orders”. They are prosecuted under charges of being “members” or “executives” “in an illegal organisation”, namely the alleged terrorist network known as the Kurdish Communities Union (KCK) – an organisation considered by the authorities to be the “urban branch” of PKK. However the charges relate only to the exercise of the professional activities of the indicted lawyers. Therefore by many international observers the trial is considered to be politically motivated.
Together with many other lawyers and human rights organisations, delegates of the European Association of Lawyers for Democracy and World Human Rights (ELDH) will continue to send observers to the trial.