Click here to complete our Survey about Human Rights after Brexit

The International Observatory of Human Rights signs joint statement with 22 Rights Organizations and Law Associations Calling on the Turkish Government to Release 48 Lawyers Arrested in Turkey on September 11

16 September 2020
  • The Arrested Lawyers Initiative issued a joint statement following the arrest of 48 lawyers and 7 intern lawyers and 4 purged judges on 11 of September,2020
  • State run Anatolian News Agency stated that arrests were sought for no other offence than representing those whom the Turkish government considered dissidents and accused of being involved in “terrorism”
  • 22 international NGOs and law societies have attached their names to the joint statement addressed to the Turkish government calling for the immediate release of the lawyers

The International Observatory of Human Rights has joined The Arrested Lawyers Initiative in a joint statement calling on the Turkish government to release 48 lawyers, 7 trainee lawyers and 4 purged judges who were part of a mass arrest ordered by Ankara’s Chief Public Prosecutor on 11th of September claiming they are “members of a terrorist organization”

According to a report by the state-run Anatolian News Agency, their arrests were sought for no other offence than representing those whom the government considered dissidents and who were accused of being involved in “terrorism”.

The arrested lawyers were not allowed visitation with anybody and would be held in custody for at least 12 days which is a violation of the criminal procedure laws. According to media reports procedural laws were violated during the arrest at the residences of the lawyers. Female lawyers were handcuffed with their hands behind their backs and were subjected to ill-treatment.

The joint statement stated that “It is a widely-accepted fact that, in Turkey, “terrorism” charges are political in nature and are used to repress, intimidate and silence any opposition. Contrary to what the government has been suggesting, those who are arrested, detained and convicted are subjected to such unlawful actions, only because of their political views and their criticism of the government.”

Along with calling for the immediate release of all those arrested, the joint statement called on the Turkish government to:

  1. cease the mass-arrest campaigns against lawyers
  2. ensure that those responsible for arbitrary and unlawful arrest and imprisonment of lawyers are investigated
  3. fully comply with the UN Basic Principles on the Role of Lawyers.

Valerie Peay, the Director of the International Observatory of Human Rights said: “IOHR has been advocating for reforms in Turkey for many years, this is yet another attempt of many by the Turkish government to silence all those who choose to stand up for their legal human rights against Erdogan’s government.”

IOHR held a panel discussion in Geneva in January of this year that coincided with the UN’s Human Rights Council Universal Periodic Review of Turkey. The panel included a rare congregation of diplomats, ministers, prominent members of the Turkish media and human rights defenders – both those currently active in Turkey and those forced into exile – who shared their knowledge of the current system in Turkey, their personal experiences and examined the future of freedom of expression in Turkey post UPR.


The joint statement was signed by 22 international human rights NGOs and law associations:

  1. Barreau de Lyon (Lyon Bar Association) – France
  2. Consiglio Nazionale Forense (Italian National Bar Council) – Italy
  3. Federation des Barreaux d’Europe / European Bars Federation – France
  4. Fundación Internacional de Derechos Humanos – Spain
  5. Human Rights Foundation – United States
  6. International Association of People’s Lawyers (IAPL) – France
  7. The International Bar Association’s Human Rights Institute (IBAHRI) – UK
  8. International Observatory of Human Rights – UK
  9. L’association Défense Sans frontière – Avocats Solidaires (DSF-AS) – France
  10. Lawyers’ Rights Watch Canada – Canada
  11. La Conférence des Bâtonniers de France – France
  12. La Plataforma Pro Derechos y Libertades – Spain
  13. MEDEL – Magistrats européens pour la démocratie et les libertés – Germany
  14. Monitoring Committee on Attacks on Lawyers – France
  15. Open Dialogue Foundation – Belgium
  16. Platform for Peace & Justice – Belgium
  17. Raoul Wallenberg Centre for Human Rights – Canada
  18. Scotland Against Criminalising Communities (SACC) – Scotland
  19. Social Justice Action Campaign (SOJAC) – South Africa
  20. The Arrested Lawyers Initiative – Belgium
  21. The Law Society of South Africa – South Africa
  22. Universal Rights Association – South Africa

Click here to view the joint statement

Erdoğan calls for the suspension of lawyers accused of terrorism after the death of hunger-striking human rights lawyer

Other Press Releases

Sign up to our Newsletter

Enter your name and email address below to receive regular updates from us

Sign up to our Newsletter

Enter your name and email address below to receive regular updates from us