Dear Mr President
We thank you for your letter of support and acknowledgement of Ms Shabangu.
The LSSA has been extensively engaged by Universal Rights Association (URA), on the legal profession under siege and we have followed this on the IBA Human Rights Institute.
The report on the link (https://arrestedlawyers.org/) below paints a bleak picture and it is important that the Turkish Bar Association updates the LSSA on the situation and what can the LSSA and the legal profession in SA do to assist the lawyers in Turkey.
We published the support for the programme.
At our upcoming Annual General Meeting and conference 29-30 March 2019, representatives have once again been invited.
Endangered Lawyers and Importance of Performing Their Profession: Example of Turkey
The right to defense and the guarantee for lawyers to perform their profession without fear of reprisal, hindrance, intimidation, or harassment are cornerstones of a fair trial.
24th of January is Day of the Endangered Lawyers. 2019 is dedicated to Turkish lawyers who have been subjected to a relentless crackdown. Attached report shows that in the aftermath of the July 15, 2016 coup attempt, 1,546 lawyers have been prosecuted, 594 have been arrested, and in some cases subjected to torture and ill-treatment in Turkey, just because of practicing their duty as the defense in the legal mechanism. So far, 216 lawyers have been sentenced to 1361 years in prison.
As URA, we would like to have a panel discussion to draw attention to endangered lawyers who are trying to perform their professions under the heavy conditions in all around the world.
We will invite distinguish representatives from South African justice system as well as a Turkish lawyer who had to flee from Turkey just because of practicing his profession according to law.
They will share their experiences as well as views about the issue.
We are hoping that this panel will create awareness about the importance of the right to defense and rule of law in democracies.
Acting Executive Director
Law Society of South Africa