Turkey must uphold fair trial rights in the case of an assassinated lawyer

Turkey must uphold the right to a fair trial in the criminal case against the three police officers accused of killing lawyer Tahir Elçi, the Law Society of England and Wales warned.

“28 November marks the fifth anniversary of Tahir Elçi’s death. We urge the Turkish court to comply with international fair trial standards to ensure that justice is delivered,” Law Society president David Greene said.

Tahir Elçi was a prominent human rights lawyer and former president of the Diyarbakir Bar Association. He was shot dead during a press conference in 2015, organised to raise awareness of the increasingly violent situation in south-eastern Turkey.

“The Law Society and other legal organisations from around the world are concerned that the investigation into Tahir Elçi’s killing and aspects of the prosecution - especially the charges brought against the alleged perpetrators - were seriously flawed and that his family’s rights have not been respected during proceedings,” said David Greene.

“For example, the court refused several times to allow the family’s lawyers to speak or submit their requests.

“We urge the Turkish authorities to ensure the case is heard by an independent and impartial tribunal, so that the perpetrators of Tahir Elçi’s killing are finally brought to justice.

“The Law Society will continue to support the independence of the legal profession and our colleagues worldwide, including in Turkey, who work in difficult circumstances to ensure access to justice and respect for the rule of law.”

Notes to editors

Read more on the circumstances leading to Tahir Elçi’s death in our joint statement with other international legal organisations

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