International Association of People's Lawyers


  Dissent Special Issue - Defending Lawyers

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Obituary for Tahir Elçi

02 Dec 15 

Obituary-Tahir-Elci1Today IAPL, together with 35 organizations and lawyers, put two obituaries (click here, and here) in two Turkish newspapers in honor of lawyer Tahir Elçi. Elçi was shot in the head in broad daylight last Saturday, immediately after a press conference, and died on the spot. IAPL would like to offer sincere condolences to the family, friends and colleagues of Elçi.

During the press conference, Elçi, a widely respected human rights lawyer, called for an end to the rising violence which has held Turkey in its grip for months.

Since 1992, Elçi worked tirelessly and with a risk to his own life for the victims of human rights violations in south-eastern Turkey, caused by the conflict between the Turkish army and the PKK. He brought several cases before the European Court of Human Rights. During the recent turmoil in South-East Turkey, he organized, in his capacity as Dean of the Bar Association of Diyarbakir, fact-finding missions and documented human rights violations.

IAPL and its sister organizations have for some time had grave concerns about the increasing impunity and numerous human rights violations in Turkey. Last month, FTW and L4L, two of IAPL's sister organizations based in the Netherlands, together with three lawyers from Turkey, brought these matters to the attention of the Dutch Parliament by means of a petition. The murder of Tahir Elçi is a tragic and striking example of this escalating situation.