The next Day of the Endangered lawyer will take place on the 24th of January 2019. The focus will be on the very difficult situation that lawyers in Turkey are facing. This is not the first time that we are focusing on Turkey, however, as you all know, the lawyers’ situation is becoming worse in Turkey day by day. Turkey was ruled under the state of emergency for 2 years. During those two years, journalists, academics, judges, prosecutors, human rights activists and of course lawyers were arrested. According to an OHCHR report almost 570 lawyers were arrested, 1,480 faced some kind of prosecution, 79 were sentenced to long-term imprisonment. In several mass trials lawyers are accused just because they represent alleged members of terrorist in other trials. The risks faced by criminal defence lawyers is reportedly so high that it is extremely difficult for suspects arrested during the state of emergency to find a lawyer.
The Day of the Endangered Lawyer is the day on which we turn the spotlight on lawyers all over the world who are being harassed, silenced, pressured, threatened, persecuted, tortured. Murders and enforced disappearances as well are not out of the ordinary. The only reason for these outrages is the fact that these lawyers are doing their job, and fulfilling their professional obligations, when they are needed the most.
The 24th of January was chosen to be the annual International Day of the Endangered Lawyer because on this day in 1977 four labour rights lawyers and a coworker were murdered at their office address at Calle Atocha 55 in Madrid. This is known as the Massacre of Atocha.
The International Day of the Endangered Lawyer aims, on the one hand, to create awareness that the practice of the legal profession in many countries involves significant risks, including that of being murdered, but it aims as well at denouncing the situation in a particular country, where lawyers are victims of serious violations of their fundamental rights because they exercise their profession.
Every year on 24 January lawyers’ organisations dedicate this day to the endangered lawyers in a particular country: 2010 Iran, 2012 Turkey, 2013 Basque Country/Spain, 2014 Colombia, 2015 Philippines, 2016 Honduras, 2017 China & Egypt. The European Democratic Lawyers (AED-EDL) established the Day of the Endangered Lawyer in 2010. Since then it has been coorganized by AED-EDL and the European Association of Lawyers for Democracy (ELDH) and the foundation “The Day of the Endangered Lawyer”. Many other lawyers’ organisations and bar associations have supported this project. In 2019 the Day of the Endangered Lawyer focuses on the endangered lawyers in Turkey.
Even after the lifting of the state of emergency in July 2018, the political trials against lawyers did not end. The UN Basic Principles on the Role of Lawyers are permanently violated by the Turkish prosecutors and judges, in particular Art. 18. “Lawyers shall not be identified with their clients or their clients’ causes as a result of discharging their functions”. Almost every week, there is at least one trial against lawyers, especially in Istanbul. According to this fact, it could be claimed that the lawyers who are still free, are practicing law under the risk of a sudden arrest.
As in the previous year, many lawyers organisations around the world will organise protests outside Turkish Embassies, Consulates, and court-houses. Encourage your local associations to support these protests.
The international coordination will be organized by the Foundation day of the Endangered Lawyers, supported by AED, IAPL, and ELDH:
- Florian BORG, lawyer in Lille (France) Secretary general of the European democratic lawyers federation.
TEL: tel:+3336671428, Fax: +33366721427, Email:
- Hans Gaasbeek, lawyer and director of the foundation for the Day of theEndangered Lawyer
in Haarlem:http://dayoftheendangeredlawyer.eu/and president of the Dutch League for Human Rights.
Phone: 0031-235318657, Mobile: 0031-652055043
- Florence de La Pradelle, AED commission defense for the defense.
Mobile : +33637513099 Email:
- Thomas SCHMIDT, lawyer in Düsseldorf (Germany),
Secretary General of the European Association of Lawyers for Democracy and World Human Rights (ELDH),
PHONE: 0049 – 211 – 444 001, email:
- Ceren Uysal, AED commission defense for the defense.
Mobile: +436644853347 Email:
Basic-Report on the situation of endangered lawyers in Turkey 2019
Petition – Tag der verfolgten Anwält*innen 2019
Journée de l’Avocat en Danger – 24 janvier 2019 – Turquie
Selçuk Kozağaçlı – Silivri High Security Prison
Press statement – National Union of Peoples’ Lawyers (NUPL), Philippines