Markus Löning, Federal Government Commissioner for Human Rights Policy, issued the following statement today (28 January) on the arrests of Turkish lawyers:
I am gravely concerned about the arrests of 15 lawyers in Turkey. During these arrests, files were confiscated from the lawyers’ offices and physical force was used. Such actions represent an abuse of the rights of defence lawyers and of the independence of the legal profession, as well as a violation of Turkish law.
Recent judicial reforms restrict the use of pre-trial detention to grave offences and well-grounded cases. This principle must be applied here. That is why I call upon the Turkish authorities to respect the right to a fair trial and immediately release the detainees from custody.
I welcome and emphatically support the continuation of the Turkish Government’s plans for judicial reform, which aim to strengthen the rule of law in Turkey. These reforms, however, must also be put into practice.
I furthermore call for the release of lawyer and human rights defender Muharrem Erbey. Mr Erbey has been detained for more than three years although there is no risk either of flight or of collusion.