34 Western lawyers organizations urge Turkey to end persecution of lawyers

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In April 2017, Turkish police violently interfered to a sit-in by lawyers to protest the detention of attorneys of the Cumhuriyet daily.

On Lawyers Day, celebrated every April 5 in Turkey, 34 Western organizations for lawyers issued a statement urging the Turkish government to uphold the rule of law and bring an end to the persecution of lawyers.

“Following the failed coup d’état of 15 July 2016, the Turkish government declared a state of emergency and adopted a series of decree-laws that seriously undermined human rights and the rule of law across the country,” the statement reads.

Since July 2016, 1,546 attorneys have been prosecuted, almost 600 lawyers were arrested and 274 lawyers have been sentenced to long prison terms — the average being seven years according to the statement.

“All lawyers who have been unduly detained for carrying out their professional activities should be immediately released,” it said.

The Council of Bars and Law Societies of Europe, the International Association of Lawyers, the International Bar Association’s Human Rights Institute, Lawyers For Lawyers, the European Association of Lawyers and bar associations from countries including France, Italy, Czech Republic, Austria, Sweden and Estonia were among the signatories.

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