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: 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:

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Basic-Report on the situation of endangered lawyers in Turkey 2019

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