ELDH is gravely concerned at the arrest of the President of the progressive Turkish lawyers association ÇHD, Selçuk Kozağaçlı, who is also a member of the ELDH Executive Committee. ELDH is still more concerned at reports that Selçuk Kozağaçlı was beaten by police during his arrest. Selçuk Kozağaçlı is well known as a human rights defence advocate in many trials, and for representing the victims of the Soma mine disaster, who died as a result of the negligence of their employer. In 2014 he was awarded in Germany the Hans-Litten-Prize for his courageous and lasting engagement for human rights, democracy and the rule of law in Turkey.
According to press reports Selçuk Kozağaçlı was arrested while he was going to a meeting concerning the rights of human rights defenders. Media sources say that another lawyer, Onur Karasu, was also arrested with him.
Selçuk Kozağaçlı is now on hunger strike, although he has accepted water and sugar for the first 4 days. He has declared that if his transfer to court takes more than 4 days, then he will no longer accept water and sugar. These four days have passed meanwhile so that his life will be at risk if he is not taken to the prosecutor and to the judge immediately.
ELDH demands the immediate release of Selçuk Kozağaçlı, and also that he receives full compensation for the arrest, for the injuries he received, and for the damage done to his reputation as a lawyer, as well as for the economic damage through preventing him from working.
ELDH demands furthermore that the Turkish government respects the professional work and role of lawyers, and complies in particular with Article 9 of the UN International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights as well as Art. 16 and 18 of the UN Basic Principles on the Role of Lawyers.
ELDH assures its full solidarity to all members of Turkish Bar Associations who struggle for the release of lawyers who have been detained for political reasons in Turkey, simply because they represent clients in political cases; and to the struggle of the Turkish Bar Associations for the reinstatement of the rule of law in Turkey and for strengthening of the independence of the judicial system in Turkey.