Events & Conferences

Event dates: 01.01.18 to 31.12.18 | Location: Ankara, Gümüşhane, Istanbul, Munich, Rabat, Kiev

Political trials against lawyers and political activists in Turkey and other countries

ELDH will try to send observers to the following trials

ELDH Guide on Trial Observations

In Turkey

  • 16 and 17 July 2017, Istanbul: Opening of the trial against Özlem Gümüştaş and Sezin Uçar both lawyers in ÖHP ( Platform of Lawyers for Freedom) a lawyer's organisation in Turkey which is a member of ELDH. There are in pretrial detention since 26 October 2017.
  • 6 September 2018, Istanbul: Continuation of the trial against 46 lawyers of the Asrın Law Office, who had among others alleged members of KCK as clients. The trial started on 16 July 2012.
    The report on the hearing on 5 December 2017

    The report on the hearing on 10 May 2018
  • 10 September 2018, Istanbul: Opening of trial against Selçuk KOZAGAÇLI (CHD President) and 19 other CHD lawyers (CHD lawyers trial II): list of defendants Behiç Aşçı, Oya  Aslan, Didem Baydar Ünsal, Ayşegül Çağatay, Ezgi Çakır, Aycan Çiçek, Günay Dağ, Naciye Demir, Şükriye Erden, Yağmur Ereren Evin, Engin Gökoğlu, Süleyman Gökten, Selçuk Kozağaçlı, Ahmet Mandacı, Zehra Özdemir, Barkın Timtik, Ebru Timtik, Yaprak Türkmen, Aytaç Ünsal, Özgür Yılmaz (ELDH Statement)
  • 24 October 2018: Continuation of the trial against 22 lawyers who are all leading members of the ELDH member organisation CHD (CHD lawywers trial I). The Trial started on 24 December 2013. The following lawyers are kept in pre-trial detention: Selçuk Kozağaçlı (CHD President and winner of the 2014 Hans-Litten-Prize which is awarded by the German Lawyers Association VDJ), Naciye Demir, Ebru Timtik, Barkın Timtik, Özgür Yılmaz and Şükriye Erden
    Reports on the hearing on 23 May 2018
    ELDH observer (download PDF-file)
  • 8 November 2018, ÖHP lawyers trial II, Istanbul, against Ramazan Demir and other lawyers
  • Ankara, Sincan F Type Prison Campus: Continuation of the trial against Selahattin Demirtas, co-chair of HD. The trial started on 7 December 2017. Observers from abroad were not admitted.
    Report from an attempted trial observation on 14 February 2018 (download PDF-file)
  • Ankara, 16th Heavy Penal Court: Continuation of the trial against Figen Yüksekda, co-chair of HDP. The trial started on 4 July 2017. Observers from abroad were not admitted.
    Report of the Norvegian Bar Association on the trial observation in December 2017 download PDF-file

    Her indictment contains the following charges:
    Establishing or directing armed terrorist organization, making propaganda of a terrorist organization, inciting people to hatred and enmity, inciting people to commit a crime, inciting people to break the law, participation in unlawful meetings and demonstrations. Her indictment consists of 8 separate files compiled together. Almost all of the files are about speeches she made as the leader of a political party.
    Evidence cited from her speeches includes:
    • Describing the demonstrations during curfews in Kurdish cities as “resistance”;
    • Supporting “democratic self-administration”, a fact which is openly written in HDP’s party program;
    • Describing the killings of hundreds of civilians in the operations carried out by state security forces as “massacre”.
    Beside this, one of the files is related to the call to protest the siege of Kobane issued by HDP Central Executive Committee on 6 October 2014.
    On the first session on 4 July 2017 all foreign observers were excluded under the pretext that they didn't have applied for an accreditation
  • Istanbul: Continuation of the trial against the first four "Academics for Peace" out of over 2000. In January 2016, 2,218 scholars from Turkey signed a petition titled “We will not be a party to this crime,” also known as the Peace Petition. ​Since then the signatories (“Academics for Peace”) have been subject to heavy pressure and persecution. Hun​dreds of them have faced criminal and disciplinary investigations, custody, imprisonment, or violent threats. Several academics have been dismissed or suspended, some were forced to resign or leave the country.
  • Istanbul: Continuation of the "Cumhürriyet 17" trial against 17 Cumhürriyet employe
  • Istanbul: Trial against Lawyer Barkın Timtik, board member of the banned lawyers organisation CHD. Together with many other defendants she is accused of being member of a terrorist organisation. She was arrested on 15 December 2016 and is in prison since then. There are reports that she was tortured during her detention period and also that she was phsyically attacked while she had been exiled from one prison to an another. She could not access to her lawyers for the first days of her detention. She is also accused in the CHD Lawyers trial.
  • Istanbul: Continuation of the trial against lawyers and human rights defenders Ramazan Demir, Hüseyin Boğatekin, Ayşe Acinikli, İrfan Arasan, ŞefikÇelik, Adem Çalışçı, Ayşe Gösterişlioğlu Başar, Tamer Doğan, Mustafa Rüzgar, Sinan Zincir, Raziye Turgut and Ruhşen Mahmutoğlu as members of the human rights association for prisoners TUHAD-FED. They all are members of the Istanbul Bar, the Progressive Lawyers Association (ÇHD) and the Libertarian Lawyers Association (ÖHD).
  • Malataya: Sebahat Tuncel and Gultan Kisanak (HDP MPs) trial
  • Gümüşhane, High Criminal Court: Continuation of the trial against the lawyer Deniz Sürgüt who was arrested by İdil Criminal Court on Duty while in Şırnak to report the human rights violations, on 6th of August 2015. The lawyer Deniz Sürgüt, is a member of Libertarian Lawyers Association ÖHD (which has been banned together with 29 other lawyers organisations in the meantime) and also an active executive of Istanbul branch of Human Rights Association. After almost 2 years of pre-trial detentionhe has been released together with another defendant.
    Report of the first hearing,
    Report of the hearing on 21 April 2017
  • Istanbul: Continuation of the trial against the suspect of the killing of Berkin Elvan, a 14 years old boy who was hit by a piper gas canister shot by the police during the Uprising in June 2013 (Gezi Park Protests). He died on 11 March 2014.
  • Ankara: Continuation of the trial against Nuriye Gülmen and Semih Özakça.
    Quoted from Hürriyet Daily News 27 November 2017: "The Ankara 19th Criminal Court held the fifth hearing in which hunger striking educators Gülmen and Semih Özakça are being tried on terror charges, with the court ruling for the continuation of Gülmen’s arrest.

    In the court, prosecutor demanded the release of Gülmen on the grounds that there is no risk of her escape or spoliation of evidence. The hearing was adjourned to Dec. 1 2017.

    Gülmen and Özakça have been on hunger strike for over 250 days, in protest at their dismissal from their posts following the July 2016 coup attempt.

    They were arrested in May 2017 on terror charges while they were conducting a sit-in protest in Ankara’s central Kızılay neighborhood."

    Nuriye Gulmen was released after six and a half months in prison due to her severe health condition as a result of her hunger strike.

In Greece,

The Moria 35 trial

On 18 July 2017, police violently raided the overcrowded open-air Moria Detention camp on the island of Lesbos in Greece, arbitrarily arresting 35 individuals – the vast majority of African-origin or descent.  This, in response to a peaceful protest earlier that day by Refugees of all nationalities for freedom of movement and against inhumane camp conditions, which was also met by police brutality, outside the EU Asylum Office. Many of those arrested were not even present at the protest.

To highlight the seriousness of this case and the extent of police violence, Amnesty International have called on Greek authorities to immediately investigate excessive use of force amounting to possible torture.  An investigation has now been opened into dangerous bodily harm committed by unknown police officers.

The Moria 35 each face criminal charges which may lead to up to 10 years in prison, exclusion to the right to international protection and deportation to countries they fled.

  • First period 19 April until 27 April 
  • Second period 29 April until 4 May 
  • Third period 6 May until 11 May

 TRIAL OBSERVATION REPORT -  THE ‘MORIA 35’ CASE -  20 April 2018 to 27 April 201, Chios, Greece

More details on the Legal Centre Lesbos and the trials

In Morocco (the trial is finished)

In Ukraine

The case at the Kiev Appeal Administrative Court concerning the banning imposed on the Communist Party of Ukraine (CPU)

The Ministry of Justice released an order to ban the Communist Party of Ukraine (CPU) on the 23rd of July 2015 due to the alleged violation of the Law of Ukraine «On condemning the communist and national-socialist (Nazi) totalitarian regimes In Ukraine and the prohibition of propaganda of their symbols», the so called Decommunization Laws currently in force at national level. The Ministry of Justice motivated the ban on the mere fact that the word communism or a derivate is contained in the name of the party itself.

The judges decided to wait for the decision of the Ukrainian Constitutional Court on the aforementioned Decommunization Laws

Report of our trial observer (download PDF-file)

In Hungary

8, 10, and 12 January 2018 in Szeged, case against Ahmed H. – a Syrian national with Cypriot residence permit - accused of illegal border crossing and terrorism

Press release on occasion of the trial observation on 8 January (PDF-download, German)

Trial observation report (English)

Trial observation report (German)

In Germany

  • Monday and Friday every week until September2018, Munich, trial against alleged members of ATIK and TKP/ML.

Details about the trial

4 defendants have been release from pre-trial detention on 19 February 2018 due to unproportionality. Another one had been released in December 2017 due to his bad health condition. 5 remain in pre-trial detention.

Statement of 4 German lawyers organisations (in German).

Colleagues who wish to participate are requested to let us know in advance so that we can take the necessary organisational measures. Observers who need an interpreter should let us know early enough so that we can try to help them.