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

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: Email

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) (International Factsheet)

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
    Next hearing:
    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)

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

  • ÖHD – Trial II, 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
    Next hearing: 1 February 2022, Istanbul 14. Heavy Criminal Court

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


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

Assessment of the Spanish Supreme Court Judgement 459/2019


In Malta

El Hiblu 1 hijacking case.

108 boat migrants fleeing persecution and torture in Libya were rescued in Libyan territorial waters by the ‘El Hiblu 1’, when the ship attempted to return them to Libya. The tanker was then secured by the Armed Forces of Malta, which brought the migrants to a safe port in Malta. Three young refugees (16, 17, and 19 years old) fleeing from Libya to Europe have been charged with terrorist activity after “taking over” a commercial vessel. They are still in prison.

Several hearings have already taken place.


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