Bar calls on Turkish courts to address human rights abuses


In solidarity with Turkish lawyers, the Bar Human Rights Committee (BHRC) has condemned the ‘systemic failure’ of the courts in neglecting to deal with thousands arrested and detained following last year’s aborted coup.

It has written to the President of the Turkish Constitutional Court, Zühtü Arslan, calling on him to address the thousands of cases, including those of lawyers and journalists, pending since Turkey’s abortive coup in July 2016.

Since then, none of the 80,000 cases has been heard or resolved and more than 30,000 people remain in detention.

BHRC argued that the delay breached the defendants’ rights under Art 5 of the European Convention on Human Rights.

It followed an open letter to Prime Minister, Theresa May, in advance of her meeting with the Turkish Prime Minister, Recep Tayyip Erdo an, in January highlighting the systematic persecution of lawyers and judges and labelling the Turkish government’s actions ‘an egregious attack on democracy’.

BHRC chair Kirsty Brimelow QC said: ‘There appears to be a systemic failure of the courts in Turkey, representing a block to access to justice. Fundamental rights to liberty are being violated.

‘BHRC is acting in solidarity with the lawyers in detention but also in its capacity as lawyers seeking to uphold international human rights law around the world.’

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