The Confederation of Lawyers of Asia and Pacific(COLAP) an organization of human rights and democratic lawyers in the region, founded in June 2016, calls on the Turkish government to immediately free human rights lawyer Selçuk Kozağaçlı, He was arrested by the Istanbul police on November 8, 2017 together with another lawyer Onur Karasu.
Selçuk Kozağaçlı is the president of the Progressive Lawyers Association (CHD), the leading human rights organization of lawyers in Turkey.
He is one of the the leading counsels defending political prisoners Semih Özakça and Nuriye Gülmen. Two months ago, some 16 other human rights lawyers in Turkey, who were handling the same case with Selcuk were arrested and jailed. To protest this injustice, Selcuk is holding a hunger strike and he pledged to never surrender and to continue the struggle.
Selcuk is a leader and Bureau Member of the International Association of Democratic Lawyers (IADL), the largest organization of human rights lawyers in the world. He has attended the COLAP 6 conference in Nepal in 2016 in solidarity with the democratic lawyers of the Asia and Pacific region. The arrest of Selçuk Kozağaçlı and Onur Karasu shows the intensification of the attack by the government of Turkey against Turkish human rights lawyers.
COLAP demands that in accordance with the international instrument “Basic Principles on the Role of Lawyers (1990)”, lawyers’ activities for justice and protection of human rights must be fully respected. COLAP stands for the protection of the rights of lawyers to defend the oppressed clients, and demands the immediate release of Selçuk Kozağaçlı and a stop to the attacks against lawyers by the Turkish government.
COLAP also calls upon all member associations to raise their voices to release Selçuk Kozağaçlı and other human rights lawyers who are still imprisoned by the Turkish government.