The Hellenic Association of Magistrates for Democracy and Freedoms, a member of MEDEL – Magistrats Européens pour la démocratie et les libertés (European Judicial Officers for Democracy and Freedoms), – is participating in the global anxiety for the containment of the fundamental rights in Turkey, the aftermath of the failed coup.
It is very worrying that in addition to the tens of thousands of other public officials, 2745 Turkish magistrates were immediately suspended and about two hundred of them have been arrested.
We underline that the presumption of innocence and transparency are safeguards for a fair trial. The attacks on the independence of justice and intimidation of judges with cleansing operations erode the rule of law and the separation of functions and weaken democracy. We call, therefore, on the Turkish authorities to liberate and restore the magistrates who are sacked or detained in their posts, until suspicions against them are investigated and proven credible. Any procedure against them should be in line with international law and, indeed, with the principles of a fair trial of the Council of Europe.
We stress that human rights cannot be abolished in the name of security. We call, therefore, the Turkish Government, in these critical times, to respect fundamental human rights, upholding the rule of law and to strengthen democratic institutions.
Finally, we urge the United Nations, NATO, the European Union and the national governments of the Member States, the Council of Europe and all other humanitarian organizations to assume their share of responsibility and claim to defend these principles, to support Turkish colleagues.
Athens 21 July 2016