Elly calls on Turkey to release captives

LAW Society President Charles Elly has urged the Turkish government to release two human rights lawyers “without delay” following their arrest in the Kurdish district of Diyarbakir.

In an open letter to Turkish president Suleyman Demirel, Elly says that the arrests of Sinan Tanrikulu and Firat Anli, the latest in a series of actions against lawyers in the troubled Kurdistan region, has added to concern among UK lawyers that “the rule of law is in danger” in Turkey.

Elly expresses concern that the arrests on 27 February, along with three other members of a local branch of the Human Rights Association, may be “as a result of their work as human rights lawyers”.

The two, along with other members of the Turkish association, have been involved in assisting Turkish citizens in bringing individual complaints about violations of human rights to the European Commission on Human Rights.

The Law Society protest coincides with publication of a report into the on-going trial of three other lawyers produced by the Kurdistan Human Rights Project, backed by the Law Society and The Bar Human Rights Committee.

The three, along with other Human Rights Association activists, were remanded in custody at a hearing last month attended by Law Society representative Louise Christian and barrister Joanna Glynn.

This was despite claims from two prosecution witnesses that their statements had been extracted under torture.