A total of 756 jurists, including 356 from abroad, have called on the Court of Cassation, Turkey’s high court of appeals, to overturn the convictions of 19 members of the Progressive Lawyers Association (ÇHD).

Some 400 lawyers from Turkey and another 356 lawyers from 20 countries have sent petitions to the Court of Cassation demanding the acquittal of 19 members of the Progressive Lawyers Association (ÇHD), who given a total of 159 years in prison in March 2019.

The 19 ÇHD lawyers were sentenced membership of the banned Revolutionary People’s Liberation Party-Front (DHKP/C). But the trial was said to be highly politicized, with Turkish Minister Süleyman Soylu insisting that the lawyers were the “pillar of the DHKP/C.”

Several human rights and law organisations slammed the sentences, saying that the lawyers received these sentences for providing legal defense to political prisoners in Turkish jails.

Of the 19 ÇHD lawyers, eight are currently behind bars. Two imprisoned lawyers named Aytaç Ünsal and Ebru Timtik started a hunger strike on Feb. 20 for the right to a fair trial and turned their strike into a “death fast” as of April 5.

The six lawyers, sentenced to less than five years in prison do not have the right to any further appeal. The lawyers sentenced to more than five years in prison filed an appeal to Turkey’s Court of Cassation, which is the last instance for reviewing verdicts given by courts of criminal and civil justice.

Didem Baydar, one of the lawyers representing the ÇHD members, said that as of June 1 their file had passed the preliminary examination stage and started to be discussed at the 16th Penal Chamber of the Court of Cassation.

Baydar also said that they on June 1 submitted a total of 756 petitions, including 356 from world-renowened jurists, to the Turkish e-justice platform UYAP demanding the ÇHD lawyers’ acquittal.

“This trial happened in front of the whole world, and legal organizations from all four corners of the world are following developments regarding this case file closely and know every single detail about it. Unfortunately, this case is being examined as an example of violation of right to fair trial in many universities, conferences and workshops, and articles are written on it,” ÇHD members’ lawyers said in their letter uploaded to the UYAP.

The letter included 356 petitions from the following countries: The United States, Germany, Austria, Belgium, Benin, Bulgaria, Democratic Republic of Congo, France, Haiti, India, the UK, Spain, Italy, Japan, Catalonia, Lebanon, Poland, Romania and Togo.

DuvaR English – 02.06.2020

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