April 30th, 2020
Communiqué of the Governing Board of Illustrious Bar Association of Madrid concerning the situation of lawyers in Turkey aggravated by the Covid-19 pandemic
The Governing Board of the Illustrious Bar Association, in session held on 27 April 2020, has adopted the following AGREEMENT:
The 5th of April was commemorated as the Lawyers’ Day in Turkey to acknowledge and pay tribute to the fundamental role that the lawyer plays in safeguarding the rule of law and the freedoms and rights of individuals in Turkish society. Also on the Day of Endangered Lawyer, 24 January 2019, attention was focused on lawyers in Turkey because of the difficult situation they face in the exercise of the profession in that country, where many are imprisoned following trials that cast serious doubt on international observers about compliance with fair trial standards under the ECHR, and on the independence of the courts.
This Governing Board has already had the opportunity to pronounce on this situation on several occasions, especially when it showed its “total repudiation and condemnation of the flagrant violation of the right to defence and the basic principles of a fair trial” as a result of the conviction handed down.
The situation caused by the COVID-19 pandemic has only aggravated the conditions in which our colleagues in Turkey find themselves. The virus can be particularly virulent in places such as prisons, so it is urgently necessary to adopt the appropriate measures to prevent the spread of a pandemic that does not stop at the door of the prisons and to protect the lives of all those professionals in the legal profession who are in prison as a result of exercising their profession under the same health conditions as the rest of the prison population.
For this reason, the Madrid Bar Association wishes to join lawyers from all over the world and the representatives of international human rights organizations in the declarations they have held against the situation of lawyers deprived of their liberty in Turkey, urging the competent authorities to take the necessary measures to protect their health and to proceed to their immediate and unconditional release to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
Once again the Governing Board of Illustrious Bar Association of Madrid demonstrates its firm commitment to the effective protection of fundamental rights and civil liberties regardless of borders or governments.