The Federal Government Commissioner for Human Rights Policy and Humanitarian Aid and Member of the German Bundestag, Christoph Strässer, issued the following statement today (17 May 2014) on the award of the Hans Litten Prize to the lawyer Selçuk Kozağaçlı:
Today, Turkish lawyer Selçuk Kozağaçlı is receiving the Hans Litten Prize, awarded by the Association of Democratic Lawyers (VDJ). I would like to warmly congratulate him on this. At the same time, I deeply regret that he is unable to receive this award in person. Mr Kozağaçlı was detained pending trial for over a year for carrying out his work as a lawyer. On 21 March 2014 he was released on the condition that he did not travel abroad. The proceedings against him give cause for concern.
Following the abolition of specially authorised courts by the fifth judicial reform package, this case has now been given to a court of general jurisdiction. This brings hope that from now on, standards fully in line with the rule of law will be observed.
I call for a fair trial for Mr Kozağaçlı.
On 18 January 2013, the Turkish police took 15 layers and members of the Contemporary Lawyers’ Association (CHD) into custody. Lawyers’ offices were searched, files were confiscated and allegations were made that directly related to the lawyers’ professional activities. On 21 January 2013 arrest warrants were issued for nine of those detained, including SelçukKozağaçlı. SelçukKozağaçlı was in pre-trial detention from 18 January 2013 to March 2014. He is accused of being a member of a terrorist group (the DHKP-C).