Turkey: Lawyer Ramazan Demir Wins IBA Human Rights Award

Turkish human rights lawyer Ramazan Demir is the recipient of the 2017 IBA Human Rights Award. Ramazan Demir has been jailed and prosecuted twice for providing legal representation in high profile cases to lawyers and journalists facing charges because of their legitimate professional activities. Clients have included members of the People’s Democratic Party subjected to arbitrary detention and people arrested in relation to the Gezi Park protests in Turkey in 2013.

LRWC published letters and joint letters outlining Demir’s rights on,  21 August 201424 March 2016,  and 4 May 2016.  LRWC and the Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights published a report on rights to pre-trial release of Demir and other imprisoned lawyers on 28 June 2016. Catherine Morris and Paul Scambler, accompanied by a Turkish human rights lawyer, visited the Silivri 5th L Type Closed Prison on 14 July 2016 in an unsuccessful attempt to visit Mr. Ramazan Demir. The Turkish human rights lawyer accompanying Ms. Morris and Mr. Scambler attempted for several hours to negotiate their entry. The reason given for Turkish authorities’ refusal of the visit was that Canadian lawyers are not permitted to visit those imprisoned in Turkey because of the lack of an official reciprocal arrangement between Canada and Turkey for lawyers’ visits to prisoners. 

LRWC and the Law Society of England and Wales filed an amicus brief on international human rights law in the Constitutional Court of Turkey 28 September 2016. On 27 January 2015 LRWC co-hosted a side event in Geneva on the arbitrary detention and wrongful prosecution of lawyers and journalists in Turkey.