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Turkish authorities must restore judicial independence and stop silencing human rights defenders, says Human Rights Commissioner

EPA-EFE/SEDAT SUNA
Turkish lawyers hols placards and shouts slogans during a 'The Alliance for Lawyers at Risk' day protest at Istiklal Street near Taksim Square in Istanbul, Turkey, 24 January 2019. Slogan on placard (C) reads: 'Lawyer for the law of law'. 

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In a report published on Wednesday, the Council of Europe called on Turkish authorities to restore judicial independence and stop targeting and silencing human rights defenders, lawyers and journalists, through administrative and judicial actions.
The government measures taken after the failed coup attempt in Turkey in 2016 and the state of emergency that followed, severely affected the rule of law and human rights across the country.
“I am aware of the extraordinary challenges faced by Turkey in fighting many terrorist organisations on many fronts, as it is its right and duty, said Dunja Mijatović, Commissioner for Human Rights.
“However, disregarding human rights in this process would only discredit and undermine this fight in the long run, while eroding the rule of law and trust in the justice system at the same time,” Mijatović added.
Turkey has been urged to revert to the situation before the state of emergency in terms of constitutional and structural guarantees for the independence of judges and procedural guarantees for fair trials and concerning civil society organisations, the Commissioner called for an end to indiscriminate bans, such as the ban on LGBTI-related activities in Ankara.

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