IBA alarmed by lawyers’ arrests in Istanbul

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The reported unlawful arrests of a significant number of lawyers at Çağlayan Court in Istanbul, Turkey, on 11 June 2013, during a peaceful demonstration, are of serious concern to the International Bar Association (IBA).

Michael Reynolds, IBA President, commented, ‘The International Bar Association condemns the arrests and treatment of the lawyers. There is concern that the arrests reflect a wider tendency of the Executive to exert undue pressure on the legal profession.’ He added, ‘The IBA considers the detention of the lawyers to be a serious breach of human rights, including the freedom of association and the freedom of assembly as enshrined in the European Convention of Human Rights, to which Turkey is a signatory.’

The lawyers, demonstrating in solidarity with protestors in Gezi Park, Istanbul, where clashes with the authorities have occurred in recent days, are reported to have been handcuffed and detained for several hours, before being released on the evening of 11 June.

Mark Ellis, IBA Executive Director, remarked, ‘The arrests of the lawyers in Istanbul are a breach of the rights of lawyers under the United Nations Basic Principles of the Role of Lawyers. The IBA urges the Turkish authorities to uphold the rule of law and international human rights standards that permit lawyers to act without interference and harassment in the course of their professional duties.’ He added, ‘Also, the IBA seeks assurances from the Turkish authorities that transparent investigations will be held into the allegations of unlawful conduct by the police forces against the lawyers, and that lawyers who continue to exercise their rights will not be targeted.’