Civic group seeks British sanctions against abuse of Turkish lawyers

Arrested Lawyers Initiative is seeking to use Britain's human rights sanctions against Turkish prosecutors and officials responsible for abuse of thousands of lawyers, the Guardian newspaper said on Thursday.

Lawyers from the rights group are preparing a submission for the British Foreign Office in a bid to trigger global rights sanctions targeting those suspected of inflicting serious rights violations abroad, even if against their own citizens, the Guardian said.

“We have to admire people who face risks and danger but continue to do the work … We owe it to them to make a noise,” the Guardian cited David Greene, the president of the Law Society in Britain, as saying.

Arrested Lawyers Initiative said Turkish authorities prosecuted at least 1,500 lawyers, with 600 more are awaiting trial, and sentenced 441 to a total sum of 2,278 years in prison.

Many of those who the detained lawyers have been subject to torture, solitary confinement, denial of health services and access to counsel, the group said, adding that some have died in custody.

“What’s happening in Turkey is an obscenity with thousands of lawyers facing prosecution for doing their day job," Greene said.