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HUMAN rights specialists have called on Europe to force the hand of Turkey over its persecution of lawyers and human rights activists.
In a report released last week, UK-based barristers and solicitors who observed trials in Turkey earlier this year accuse officials of interfering with petitions to the European Commission of Human Rights.
The European Convention Under Attack says the country is in breach of the European Convention on Human Rights by "criminalising" help in petition preparation and creating a "climate of fear" so intimidating that lawyers are afraid of becoming involved in cases.
The delegation which prepared the report - including the International Bar Association, the Kurdistan Human Rights Project, the Bar and the Law Society - is asking MEPs to ensure the right of petition is not impeded.
It also wants "independent and impartial" investigations into allegations of interference and a surety that lawyers and activists will be free to involve themselves in cases. Current charges involving the preparation of petitions should be dropped and prisoners freed.