Turkey: Filiz Kalayci, Assan Anlar, Halil Ibrahim, Vargün and Murat Vargün

The Avocats Sans Frontières Network expresses its concern on the criminal trial held in Ankara against four lawyers, members of Ankara Bar.

Turquie - Filiz Kalayci

Ms Filiz Kalayci, Mr Hasan Anlar, Mr Halil Ibrahim Vargün and Mr Murat Vargün, lawyers at Ankara Bar, were arrested by officers of the Anti-Terror Police Unit of Ankara, in May 2009. They were released after a few days. However, Ms Filiz Kalayci was arrested again at the end of May 2009 and not released until January 2010. They were accused of belonging to and aiding an illegal organisation. All of them are all involved in the defence of Human rights and are known and recognized as human rights defenders.

The trial opened in September 2009 before the 11th Special Criminal Court of Ankara. In January 2011, Ms Filiz Kalayci obtained the authorization to travel abroad and went to Austria to visit her parents. Mr Murat Vargün also obtained the authorization to travel to Germany for family reasons. The last hearing was held, in their absence, on October 6th. The other two accused lawyers, Mr Hasan Anlar and Mr Halil Ibrahim Vargün, were present. During the hearing, the Prosecution requested guilty verdict for all of the accused. It also requested punishment for all them in accordance with the law as provided by article 314/2 of the Penal Code and article 5 of the Anti-terrorism law. They face imprisonment sentence from 6 to 15 years.

The pleadings of the defence are scheduled to take place on 2 December 2011.

The charges against the four members of the Ankara Bar are mainly based on the contacts they had with their clients, members of an organisation considered as illegal by Turkish authorities. The contacts they had with their clients were in the scope of their professional duties and did not show any illegal action or intention. Furthermore, some of the witnesses heard by the police, have withdrawn their initial statements before the Court stating that such statements were made under threats and pressure.