Political trials against lawyers and political activists in Turkey and other countries

01.01.-31.12.2019 Ankara, Istanbul, Madrid

ELDH will try to send observers to the following trials. These trials are observed by many lawyers from different organisations in Europe. Colleagues who wish to participate in the trial observation should get into contact with ELDH: trialobservation@eldh.eu

In Turkey

International Law Breaches Concerning the Independence of Legal Profession in Turkey (The Bar Human Rights Committee of England and Wales, The International Bar Association’s Human Rights Institute, The Law Society of England and Wales)

Joint Stakeholder Submission to the UN Human Rights Council’s Universal Periodic Review – TURKEY
International Coalition of Legal Organisations 35th Session (Jan.-Feb. 2020) (report)

CHD Trials I and II (trials against lawyers of the Progressive Lawyers Association (Çağdaş Hukukçular Derneği) CHD. CHD is a member organisation of ELDH.

  • CHD Trial I, Istanbul: Continuation of the trial against 22 lawyers who are all leading members of the ELDH member organisation CHD. The Trial started on 24 December 2013
    Reports on the hearing on 23 May 2018
    ELDH observers (download PDF-file)
    DEFENSE SANS FRONTIERE – AVOCATS SOLIDAIRES observers, report 23 May 2018 (download PDF-file)
    DEFENSE SANS FRONTIERE – AVOCATS SOLIDAIRES observers, report 24 October 2018 (download PDF-file)
    DEFENCSE SANS FRONTIERE – AVOCATS SOLIDAIRE observers, report (download PDF-file)

ÖHP Trials I and II (trials against lawyers of the Asrın LawOffice, members of ÖHP, former ÖHD, Platform of Lawyers for Freedom (Özgürlükçü Hukukçular Platformu), ÖHP ). ÖHD is a member organisation of ELDH.

  • ÖHP – Trial II, 31 October 2019, Istanbul, against Ramazan Demir and other lawyers from the Asrın LawOffice.
    Continuation of the trial against lawyers and human rights defenders Ramazan Demir, Hüseyin Boğatekin, Ayşe Acinikli, İrfan Arasan, ŞefikÇelik, Adem Çalışçı, Ayşe Gösterişlioğlu Başar, Tamer Doğan, Mustafa Rüzgar, Sinan Zincir, Raziye Turgut and Ruhşen Mahmutoğlu as members of the human rights association for prisoners TUHAD-FED. They all are members of the Istanbul Bar, the Progressive Lawyers Association (ÇHD) and the Libertarian Lawyers Association (ÖHD).
    DSF AS Rapport OHD II – 11 décembre 2018

Trials against HDP former co-chairs Ms. Figen Yüksekdağ and Mr. Selahattin Demirtaş and
trial of Mr. Selahattin Demirtaş against Turkey

  • The next hearing of the case against former co-chair Ms. Figen Yüksekdağ will be held on 14 June 2019 at 10:00 a.m at Sincan F Type Prison Campus in Ankara. The charges raised against Ms. Yüksekdağ are almost identical with those raised against Mr. Demirtaş: Establishing or administering an armed terrorist organization, making propaganda of a terrorist organization, inciting people to hatred and enmity, inciting people to commit crime, inciting people to violate the law, participation in unlawful meetings and demonstrations. Her indictment consists of 8 separate files that were later merged into one single case. Almost all of the files are about the speeches she made as the leader of a political party.
  • HDP’s former co-chair Mr. Selahattin Demirtaş was arrested on 4 November 2016 together with co-chair Ms. Figen Yüksekdağ and seven other MPs. Mr. Demirtaş has been in Edirne F Type Prison since his arrest. The next hearing of the main legal case for which Mr. Demirtaş has been under pre-trial detention will be on June 18-19, 2019 at 10:00 a.m. at the Sincan F Type Prison Campus in Ankara. The indictment prepared for Mr. Selahattin Demirtaş accuses him with the following charges: Establishing or administering an armed terrorist organization, making propaganda of a terrorist organization, praising a crime or criminal, inciting people to hatred and enmity, inciting people to commit crime, inciting people to violate the law, organizing and participating in meetings and marches in violation of the law on protest and assembly. The prosecution has asked for the sentencing of Mr. Demirtaş up to142 years in prison.
  • ECtHR: CASE OF SELAHATTİN DEMİRTAŞ v. TURKEY (No. 3),App. No(s).8732/11, 

    Judgment Date, 09/07/2019, Conclusion(s) : Violation of Article 10 – Freedom of expression-{general} (Article 10-1 – Freedom of expression),The judgement in French

    Grand Chamber hearing on the pre-trial detention of Selahattin Demirtaş, 18/09/2019 Press Release

Trial of Veysel Ok (Lawyer) and Cihan Acar (Journalist
Final Hearing 12 September 2019, Istanbul, Court of First Instance

Veysel Ok is a leading advocate representing journalists in Turkey charged with terrorist offences. He was charged as a result of an
interview he gave prior to the attempted coup in Turkey in 2015 in which he was critical concerning the independence of the judiciary in Turkey.
His most prominent clients are Ahmet Altan, the novelist and Deniz Yücel, the Die Welt correspondent. He has also applied to the Constitutional Court in Turkey and then to the European Court of Human Rights on behalf of journalist Şahin Alpay and the writer/academic Mehmet Altan and was instrumental in their release. Both men were found guilty guilty and sentenced to six months’ imprisonment under Article 301. Each sentence was reduced to five months and both sentences were suspended.

Report on the trial observation

Gezi Park Trial

 Silivri prison court (near Istanbul

16 individuals are now being put on trial in this case, and the prosecutor demanding aggravated life sentences and a series of additional punishments. The 657-page indictment was prepared by the Istanbul Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office and accepted by the 30th Heavy Penal Court. The bill of indictment treats sending pastries and sandwiches to the park as ‘bankrolling’; turns tourists visiting Antalya into ‘malicious foreign powers’; interprets the offering of flowers to police officers on duty at Gezi Park as ‘an attempt to overthrow the government’.

October 8-9, 2019 at the Silivri Courthouse: The prosecutor’s witnesses Murat Pabuç, Ercan Orhan Aydın and Hasan Gül will testify before the court.

In Spain

Madrid, Supreme Court: Catalan referendum case, trial against former Catalan ministers, pro-independence activists, and the former parliament speaker Oriol Junqueras, Raül Romeva, Jordi Turull, Josep Rull, Joaquim Forn, Jordi Sànchez, Jordi Cuixart, Dolors Bassa, Carme Forcadell, Meritxell Borràs, Carles Mundó and Santi Vila. The defendants are charged by the Public Prosecutor’s Office with the crimes of rebellion, sedition, disobedience and embezzlement of public funds, for which it has requested 177 years’ imprisonment.

Conclusion by the European Democratic Lawyers

Report by Professor Bill Bowring (ELDH President) 19 and 20 February 2019


Other trials in Turkey or other countries will be announced as soon as the details are known.