The CHD has been banned in Turkey

Here is the Press statement of our German colleagues from the RAV:


On the 11th of November 2016, the Turkish Ministry of Interior, in the context of the state of emergency, has banned 370 organizations and associations in Turkey. It has further set, inter alia, a three-month ban on the freedom of the advocacy for lawyers: the ÇHD (Çağdaş Hukukçular Derneği), the lawyers ‘association ÖHD (Özgürlükçü Hukukçular Derneği) and the Mesopotamian lawyers’ association MHD (Mezopotamya Hukukçular Derneği). Their business premises were sealed. In addition, several lawyers were arrested under massive use of force. The government relies on Article 11 of the Exemption Act and justifies the ban with its responsibility for national security.


The opposite is the case:

In fact, ÇHD, ÖHD, and MHD are legal associations that have been advocating the enforcement of human and civil rights in Turkey for decades. ÇHD and ÖHD are members of the ‘European Association of Lawyers for Democracy and Human Rights in the World’ (EJDM / ELDH1). The ÇHD is also, as the RAV, a member of the umbrella organization of European democratic lawyers (EDA / AED). In 2014, the ÇHD was awarded the Kant-Weltbürger-Preis by the Freiburger Kant-Stiftung and the VDJ the Hans-Litten-Prize4 for its commitment to human rights and democracy. They support the rights of minorities, the fight against torture and human rights violations in Turkey, not least through successful complaints to the European Court of Human Rights.


With these unlawful attacks on ÇHD, ÖHD and MHD, the Turkish government violates the fundamental right of freedom of association and the basic principles of free advocacy, as they were adopted by the United Nations in 1990 as “Basic Principles on the Role of Lawyers”. If lawyers cannot act for the interests of their clients for fear of persecution, there can be no question of the existence of a legal state.

Erdoğan is set to destroy what is left of oppositional civil society in Turkey.



We strongly condemn these unlawful attacks on our colleagues and demand the immediate release of all imprisoned lawyers and the immediate termination of the state of emergency and the ensuing repression.


With the imposition of the state of emergency, following the coup attempt on 15 July 2016, the Turkish government has systematically abolished the rule of law and democracy. With the dismissal of thousands of judges, state officials, teachers and academics, the closure of free media and the arrest of thousands of people, including parliamentary deputies, with the pretext of combating terrorism, Erdoğan’s is making it very clear: It is not about securing, but about abolishing democracy.


This can be illustrated by some of the changes, obtained by governmental decrees, with regard to the rights of the defence, after the imposition of the state of exception:

– Accused can be held for up to 5 days in incommunicado detention, thus without right to contact a lawyer

– The accused can be held in custody for 30 days without having to be prosecuted

– Visits of the defenders to their detained clients may be prohibited for a period of up to 6 months

– All discussions between imprisoned accused and their defenders are to be filmed and monitored by the prison staff

– All defence documents can be confiscated, even without judicial decision

– Defenders can be searched in detention during visits of their clients, even physically.

– Law firms can be searched without a search warrant and the documents of the client seized


There, where the population is intimidated and silenced by mass-dismissals, prosecution, detention, torture and deprivation of rights, there is no basis for any democracy. There, where lawyers are not allowed to do their work, the state of law is something from the past.


The Federal Government cannot close its eyes before this development.

Our solidarity is open to all those who advocate democracy, human rights and freedom in Turkey.

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