ICJ releases final report on the criminal trial of 27 Turkish lawyers

The ICJ today concluded in its final report that the criminal trial of 27 Turkish lawyers was political in nature.

The lawyers, who had been charged with professional misconduct before No. 1 Ankara Heavy Penal Court, were openly identified as “terrorist lawyers” for representing political prisoners during a court proceeding in December 2000.

Nevertheless, the ICJ is satisfied that the Court dismissed the charge against the lawyers on 31 October 2002 on the ground that it was not supported by sufficient evidence.

The ICJ report covers all aspects of the trial, including the context within which it arose, an analysis of the applicable law and the charge, and an evaluation of the fairness of the proceedings.

The ICJ calls upon the Government to refrain from identifying lawyers with their clients’ causes and allow lawyers to perform their professional functions without intimidation, hindrance, harassment or prosecution in line with international standards such as the UN Principles on the Role of Lawyers.

The ICJ sent a trial observer, Paul Richmond, Barrister of England and Wales, to observe the 31 October hearing which had been previously adjourned twice. Mr Richmond observed the earlier proceedings which took place on 9 May and 11 July.

Turkey-final report trial 27 lawyers-press release-2003 (text, PDF)

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