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Public Statement: The Law Society of Upper Canada Expresses Grave Concerns About the Arrest and Detention of Lawyers in Turkey

TORONTO, ONTARIO--(Marketwired - Jun 18, 2013) - The Law Society of Upper Canada is gravely concerned about the arrest and detention of lawyers in Turkey.

According to reports, more than 50 lawyers were arrested on June 11, 2013 for protesting at Caglayan Justice Palace to denounce the repression of the Occupy Gezi protestors. Reportedly, many of the lawyers were beaten and kicked on the ground by police and their clothes were torn. Although recent reports indicate that the lawyers were released, we are concerned that the basis for their arrest remains unclear.

International human rights instruments, including the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, state that respect for human rights are essential to advancing the rule of law.

The Law Society urges the government of Turkey to:

  1. guarantee the free exercise of the right to freedoms of peaceful assembly and expression of lawyers;
  2. carry out a thorough, impartial and transparent investigation into the above mentioned use of force, bring any offender before a competent and impartial tribunal and apply to them the sanctions provided by the law;
  3. guarantee the safety of lawyers and integrity in all circumstances;
  4. put an end to all acts of harassment against human rights lawyers and other human rights defenders in Turkey;
  5. ensure that all lawyers can carry out their peaceful and legitimate activities without fear of physical violence or other human rights violations; and
  6. ensure in all circumstances respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms in accordance with international human rights standards and international instruments.

*The Law Society of Upper Canada is the governing body for some 44,400 lawyers and 5,100 paralegals in the Province of Ontario, Canada. The Treasurer is the head of the Law Society.

The mandate of the Law Society is to govern the legal profession in the public interest by upholding the independence, integrity and honour of the legal profession for the purpose of advancing the cause of justice and the rule of law.