Murat ArslanToday, January 18th, 2019, was held the last session of the trial against Murat Arslan, unlawfully accused and persecuted by the Turkish authorities and arrested since October 19th, 2016.

In today’s session, the court issued the decision, sentencing Murat Arslan to 10 years of imprisonment.

The sentence issued today by the Turkish court was not a surprise. The whole procedure before the Turkish courts was not transparent and didn’t meet the criteria of a due process of law.

Murat Arslan faces very difficult conditions of detention. He is in an overcrowded cell, with 16 other inmates: 8 sleep on the floor, 8 have a bed and there aren’t enough toilets.

Platform for an Independent Judiciary in TurkeyMarking the 70th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the Platform for an Independent Judiciary in Europe (of which MEDEL is a member) published a letter today, remembering the situation in Turkey and the violation of basic human rights in that country, mainly in what regards the right to a fair trial and an independent Judiciary.

Statement by the Associazione Nazionale Magistrati following the news on the death in detention of Teoman Gökçe, former member of the HSYKAssociazione Nazionale Magistrati adopted the statement following the news on the death in detention of Teoman Gökçe, former member of the HSYK.

While expressing the Italian judges’ and prosecutors’ solidarity with his family and the Turkish colleagues still in detention or removed from their positions, the ANM asks the Italian and European institutions to intervene and urge Turkey to reestablish the rule of law. You can read the statement below in Italian.

EUEveryone in Europe is aware that 150 journalists are detained in Turkey and that the majority of them have no idea what the indictments are. All judgments issued to date fundamentally contradict the rights and principles which form the (common) basis of European law.

Additionally, over 25% of all Turkish judges and prosecutors, namely more than 3,000, are also facing pre-trial detention.

murat.arslan.webMurat Arslan: "This trial is a revenge against YARSAV". Report about the first day of trial in the criminal proceedings against the chairman of YARSAV, the banned Turkish Association of Judges and Prosecutors. 

Murat Arslan began his career in law at the Turkish National Court of Accounts (Sayıştay). He changed paths in 2005 when he became a reporter judge for the Constitutional Court. He first became active in YARSAV, the Turkish association of judges and prosecutors founded in 2006, as a member of the board. Later he became the vice-president of the association, and was elected president in 2011. He was reelected several times and was the chairman of YARSAV until the organization was banned by an emergency decree after the attempted coup d’état on 15.07.2015. Murat Arslan had already been transferred back to the national Court of Accounts in 2015. After the attempted coup d’état, he was dismissed and from 19.10.2016 on he has been in detention pending trial.

Palazzo Quirinale (Photo: Wikipedia)Signor Presidente, le continue violazioni dei diritti umani e le ripetute epurazioni in Turchia destano grande preoccupazione.

Magistrati, giornalisti, avvocati, insegnanti, funzionari pubblici, medici, militari sono stati licenziati, in molte occasioni arrestati, e ancora si trovano in stato di detenzione in assenza di contestazioni puntuali delle condotte a loro attribuite e in uno stato di sospensione dei diritti difensivi.

Questa situazione viola i principi fondamentali dello Stato di diritto ed è stata ripetutamente segnalata da tutta la Comunità internazionale.

Association of European Administrative Judges (AEAJ) European Association of Judges (EAJ), Judges for Judges, Magistrats Européens pour la Démocratie et les Libertés (MEDEL)

The assessment of the status of the justice system in Turkey clearly proves that the independence of the judiciary is abolished.

The Platform for an Independent Judiciary in Turkey refers to its previous declarations and to the attached summary on the developments and their results.

It is urgent to return to the rule of law and to bring back to the Turkish people the fundamental rights of which they had been deprived.

The Platform urges

I.) the Turkish authorities

• to end the pressure which is directly exercised on Turkish judges and prosecutors, who are in charge of the procedures subsequent to the terrible attempt of the coup d´etat, and indirectly by influencing the High Council of Judges and Prosecutors.

• to reestablish the procedural rules, which are necessary to guarantee a fair procedure,

• to make the observation of the court hearings by international observers possible

MEDELLe glas de la démocratie ne cesse de sonner en Turquie et le référendum constitutionnel tendant à donner les pleins pouvoirs à Recep Tayyip Edogan le fera résonner une nouvelle fois.

La fin de l’état de droit démocratique en TURQUIE

Tout se passe dans un contexte de répression arbitraire allant crescendo depuis le coup d’état raté du 15 juillet pour atteindre une ampleur considérable : près de 45 000 personnes ont été arrêtées (dont 3800 magistrats, 300 avocats, 140 journalistes, des élus, notamment 12 députés, des universitaires...), plus de 150 000 ont été limogées dont un quart des magistrats en poste à la mi-juillet. Ces chiffres -pouvant varier selon les sources mais restant toujours dans le même ordre de grandeur- traduisent une volonté de faire régner la peur bien au-delà de la sphère « complotiste ».

MEDELAfter prosecutor SeyfettinYigit who allegedly committed suicide and died in prison, another Turkish Judge passed away after being purged.

We mourn for our colleague Mehmet Tosun (29) who passed away on March 6th 2017.

Like many other judges, he was dismissed and detained under severe conditions after the attempted coup with no evidence and solid reason. Although he spent his last months at hospital due to his heavy health problems, he was deprived of even his assets and personal savings, access to his personal bank accounts which were crucial for his medical treatment which obviously costed enormous amount of money for a dismissed person with no social security.

He was a rapporteur judge at the Council of State of Turkey.

He suffered from an autoimmune illness. According to his lawyer, Hüseyin Aygin, Mehmet Tosun was mistreated in jail and his state of health deteriorated.

MEDELThe Italian lawyer Barbara Spinelli was stopped on the frontier, in Istanbul airport, while she was travelling to Ankara to participate, as a speaker, to the International Conference “The judicial system under the state of emergency in Turkey”, organised by the European Association of Lawyers for Democracy and World Human Rights.

Following a night of administrative detention, the lawyer Barbara Spinelli was expelled and banned from Turkey, and returned to Bologna, Italy, being considered dangerous for public order for her activity of international observer on Human Rights.

MEDEL expresses its full solidarity to the lawyer Barbara Spinelli for the unjust treatment suffered related to her professional activity and reiterates its deep concerns for the prolongation of the state of emergency in Turkey, in derogation to the fundamental rights recognised by the European and international community, which hits in particular lawyers, journalists, civil servants and magistrates committed to democracy and Rule of Law.

Venice CommissionTurkey - Opinion on Emergency Decree Laws N°s667-676 adopted following the failed coup of 15 July 2016, adopted by the Venice Commission at its 109th Plenary Session, 9-10 December 2016.







ENCJThe ENCJ unites the national institutions in the Member States of the European Union which are independent of the executive and legislature, and which are responsible for the support of the Judiciaries in the independent delivery of justice. It aims to improve cooperation between, and good mutual understanding amongst, the Councils for the Judiciary and the members of the Judiciary of the European Union (or candidate) Member States.

It is a condition of membership, and for the status of observer, that institutions are independent of the executive and legislature and ensure the final responsibility for the support of the judiciary in the independent delivery of justice.

The ENCJ became concerned that the procedures adopted by the High Council for Judges and Prosecutors of Turkey (HSYK) indicated that this condition was no longer satisfied.

The General Assembly of the European Network of Councils for the Judiciary (ENCJ) gathered in The Hague on 8th December 2016 to discuss and decide on the position of the HSYK in the Association.

The ENCJ has been following developments in the judiciary in Turkey since 2014 and has expressed its concern both in its correspondence with the HSYK and publicly in the Declaration of the Hague (June 2015), the Declaration of Warsaw (June 2016) and more recently after the mass-suspension of judges and prosecutors and again following their dismissal.

 MD -  XXI CongressoLa notte della democrazia in Turchia si è manifestata ulteriormente ieri con l’arresto di un nutrito gruppo di parlamentari di opposizione, di quel partito che aveva impedito all’attuale governo di ottenere la maggioranza assoluta prima della ripetizione delle elezioni, che rappresenta oltre il 10% degli elettori e che esprime agli occhi degli osservatori internazionali la ricerca di una soluzione pacifica alla questione curda e di una visione progressista della società turca.

La valanga che ha travolto lo Stato di diritto in Turchia dopo il tentativo di colpo di Stato del luglio scorso ha determinato l’arresto e la destituzione di migliaia di giudici e pubblici ministeri (circa un terzo dell’intera magistratura), insieme ad avvocati, giornalisti, professori, appartenenti alle forze di polizia, funzionari pubblici, tutti qualificati come terroristi o fiancheggiatori del terrorismo.

Pochi giorni fa è stato arrestato Murat Arslan, presidente di Yarsav, l’associazione professionale di magistrati componente, come MD, di MEDEL, sciolta con decreto governativo ed i cui aderenti sono stati inseriti nella lista di magistrati predisposta a livello centrale per l’arresto e la detenzione preventiva, che si prolunga per molti di loro dal luglio scorso.

E’ davvero difficile apprezzare le basi giuridiche e gli elementi di prova a carico degli arrestati, in una condizione di stato d’emergenza prolungato e prorogato, che impedisce o limita fortemente agli arrestati anche i colloqui con i propri legali e con i propri familiari, in un contesto di sovraffollamento carcerario e di ingiustificata compressione di tutti i diritti di difesa.

Manifestazione Avvocati TurchiQuesta notte in Turchia si è avverato quanto si temeva da tempo, ossia da quando, senza alcuna conseguenza-critica sul piano internazionale, la maggioranza fedele ad Erdogan aveva eliminato l'immunità  parlamentare:: sono stati arrestati o sono ancora ricercati i parlamentari eletti nelle liste dell'HDP, cinquantanove. E' in stato di arresto Demirtas, ed altri 12 parlamentari dell'HDP, una forza politica che ha raggiunto 6 milioni di voti e superato per due volte lo sbarramento del 10% così impedendo la trasformazione in senso presidenziale ed autoritario della Costituzione turca.

Un colpo di stato che riafferma con chiarezza la natura del regime totalitario di Erdogan.

Che questo fosse il destino di quanti si sono spesi democraticamente nelle elezioni in Turchia cercando di affermare la dialettica democratica in un paese di fatto in guerra da decenni era chiaro e prevedibile, ed il pericolo si è accentuato, nel disinteresse generale, dopo il tentato colpo di stato;  nelle scorse settimane e negli scorsi mesi sono stati arrestati tutti gli appartenenti alle “categorie a rischio”: sindaci, avvocati, magistrati, giornalisti, ma anche accademici, persone di cultura.

Si parla ormai con quasi certezza di reintroduzione della pena di morte, e molti oppositori al regime di Erdogan la vita l'hanno persa davvero. Per tutti, ricordiamo Tahir Elci, presidente dell'Ordine degli Avvocati di Diyarbakir, assassinato in piazza.

Come Giuristi crediamo ormai indispensabile per chiunque abbia a cuore le regole della democrazia e del diritto prendere una posizione chiara e forte contro la barbarie che il regime di Erdogan sta ristabilendo in Turchia. E la prima, improrogabile, azione che non può essere evitata è l'immediata sospensione dell'accordo Ue-Turchia, che assicura al governo di Erdogan ingenti stanziamenti formalmente destinati al rafforzamento del controllo sulle frontiere ed all'accoglienza dei profughi. L'Ue sta destinando i profughi delle guerre in Siria al paese forse più  insicuro e più totalitario dell'intera area mediorientale!

The Istanbul Security Directorate in Vatan Street where some of the cases of police torture and ill-treatment documented by Human Rights Watch took place.  © 2016 Human Rights Watch Summary: "Because of the state of emergency, nobody will care if I kill you. I will just say I shot you while you tried to run away" - Police officer to a detainee, overheard by family members of another detainee.

"You won’t make it out of here alive. We now have 30 days" - Police officer referencing the extended period of police detention to a detainee while threatening to rape him with a baton, as told to the detainee’s lawyer.

"We had come a long way. The anti-torture struggle in Turkey was important. But torture is like a contagious disease. Once it starts it will spread. It is painful to see the reversal taking place now." - Lawyer involved in anti-torture cases in Turkey who was detained together with people he believed were being tortured


On July 15-16, 2016, elements of the military attempted a coup d’état against the elected government of Turkey. Those involved in the coup deployed tanks in the streets of Istanbul and Ankara, bombed the parliament with fighter jets, and opened fire from helicopters on people who took to the street to protest the attempted coup. At least 241 citizens and security personnel died in the fighting.

Shortly after the failed coup the Turkish government declared a state of emergency, a step they are entitled to take in exceptional circumstances. They also have the right – and even the obligation – to protect the public, investigate crimes committed during the attempted coup, including murder and causing bodily harm, and to hold those responsible to account. 

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