Statement by the imprisoned lawyers of the CHD (Progressive Lawyers’ Association) and Halkın Hukuk Bürosu (People’s Law Office) who went on hunger strike on 3 February.
“THE DIGNITY IS ABOVE DEATH”!
Aware that this struggle is a struggle for freedom for all of us, we appeal to all people who are against exploitation and oppression to face this time together and to make a common effort to support those in resistance.
Until today, we have tried to use all the possibilities that our profession offers us to strengthen the sense of justice.
We were threatened, but we continued. We were censored and isolated, but did not let ourselves be discouraged. We were pushed, our arms and skull bones were broken during torture, but we did not give up.
We were thrown out of the courtrooms, our sentences were time-barred, our demands remained unanswered.
We tried again and again.
There was anti-propaganda against us, we were arrested. With the help of the courts, a machinery of lies was set in motion. We continued our struggle.
Special prosecutors were assigned to the trials, they passed special sentences against us. And not only that, the names of our friends were put on “terror lists”.
Lawyer Sükriye Erden and lawyer Özgür Yilmaz are still being threatened with these lists and this creates a breeding ground for the endangerment of their lives.
THEY TELL US…
They are telling us..:
“There is no right, laws are no solution, you are also prisoners. Now you can no longer practice the legal profession!”
They tell us..:
“You are helpless!”
Are we helpless? Have all legal means been exhausted?
So we will no longer be able to practice our profession as ‘lawyers of the people’ against monopoly capital, while our territories are being completely destroyed and poisoned, while our waters are being dried up and our air polluted?
Will we no longer be able to tell those who say to us, “Give into the earthquakes” that they are “guilty”?
Will we no longer be able to raise our voice against our children being given into the hands of sects as toys and their future being darkened?
Will we no longer expose those who divide and antagonize the population on the basis of their faith, denomination, nationality and culture?
Will we remain silent about the fact that the Kurds are portrayed as “terrorists” and their political decisions are ignored, that they are bombed and simply shot down?
Will we no longer be able to stand up for the rights of those dismissed by emergency laws?
Will we no longer be able to stand by the side of the workers and labourers who are pushed into unemployment and who demand their rights?
Will we no longer be able to stand up for nature, animals, environment, places and neighbourhoods?
So, will we no longer be able to defend those who put their future in our hands and give us their power to support them in the struggle for their rights?
WHO DOES NOT BEND, IS NOT HELPLESS
Our clients have seen that justice does not even exist in fairy tales and have gone on hunger strike, even on death fast. And should we not be allowed to represent them now despite the power of attorney?
In the coup of September 12 (military dictatorship in 1980) they wrote the following on the walls: “There is no God here!” Their aim was to take away even the hope of praying. Today the same policy is being continued. They give the population the feeling of being “helpless”. They tell us “We have taken all the means of struggle from you”, “Surrender”, “You have no way out”.
Those who resist, who do not surrender, are not helpless.
WE BEGIN THE HUNGER STRIKE BECAUSE…
We are not helpless; we are going on hunger strike.
Because, it is the nature of the profession to defend the people and the rights.
This is what gives the legal profession dignity and respect.
We will not allow this essence to be destroyed by turning the profession into a source of profit.
Lawyer’s profession must not be brought to trial. The purpose of our “so-called” charge and arrest, our 159-year prison sentence, is to intimidate the legal profession as a whole.
Our clients have been starving for hundreds of days to demand the justice we crave.
Mustafa Koçak, members of the revolutionary music group Grup Yorum, Ibrahim Gökcek and Helin Bölek are on death fast to demand justice, a fair trial and the rights they are entitled to.
We are on hunger strike to say ‘The just demands of our clients are also our demands. They must be recognized!’.
The judicial system is now a tool to condemn the people to injustice, to liquidate political opponents and revolutionaries.
The “justice system” is simmering as a “cooking pot of injustice” in which massacres of the population, work murders, crimes of the state or due to omitted measures of authorities predictable and induced “accidents” are persecuted, while the perpetrators go unpunished and their crimes are legitimized.
A mechanism that arrests the ‘lawyers of the people’ and leaves the people without defence cannot be
A mechanism that arrests the ‘lawyers of the people’ and leaves the people without defence cannot be called a jurisdiction.
We want a trial that upholds the legal principles won as a result of struggles, that guarantees the right to defence and a fair trial, where the “punishment” is proven by concrete, scientific evidence – a trial that is obvious, transparent, open and conducted in the interest of the people.
We want to put an end to show trials that do not even have the appearance of justice, as well as to fraud using secret witnesses, the use of key witnesses, defamation, forced participation in trials using SEGBIS (Audiovisual Transmission System), sentences without evidence based on conjecture and abstract allegations, and disregard for the principles of criminal procedure!
We are on hunger strike, with the demand that “all political prisoners sentenced as a result of these ‘so-called’ trials be given back their rights and the trials, with all their consequences, be stopped!
The Ministry of the Interior is depriving the courts of their jurisdiction and, by publishing so-called “terror lists”, is disregarding the most fundamental principle of criminal procedure, the “presumption of innocence”.
The terror lists create the breeding ground for the murder of political opponents and revolutionaries. The Ministry of the Interior makes itself guilty by targeting and killing people without a final judgment.
The “terror” lists, to which lawyer Sükriye Erden and lawyer Özgür Yilmaz have been added, must be cancelled, and the massacres carried out on the basis of these lists must be punished.
The legal system is not just a cover for the tyranny of the ruling classes; it is also an instrument of the peoples, born of thousands of years of continuous legal battles.
Today, all our rights and freedoms are under attack by fascism. From trade union rights to freedom of organisation, from freedom of assembly to freedom of expression, from the right to life, from safety at work to the right to live in a healthy, clean environment, from a fair trial to the right not to be stigmatised, all rights have been fundamentally violated, invalidated or completely suspended.
WE ARE ON HUNGER STRIKE TO SECURE OUR FUTURE
As revolutionary lawyers, we are on hunger strike to secure our future. We face up to the responsibility of defending historical rights and freedoms and developing them further. By imposing hunger, poverty, unemployment and injustice on our peoples, politics aims at alienation, elimination of values and the breaking of human dignity.
With the help of laws, human values are attacked and even lawsuits are opened due to participation in funeral ceremonies and traditional funeral banquets and condolence visits, people are hired by the police to commit treason and spying, moral offences, such as defamation of persons are legalized and continuously applied.
We want this alienating practice which is called “Efficient Remorse”, that the alleged evidence, such as denunciation or secret testimonies, are withdrawn. Every square meter of our land is being unbridledly looted of natural, historical, and cultural riches.
We are on hunger strike so that our people, our children, will not be robbed of their future by this government policy, which thinks of nothing but profit.
We are on hunger strike because we feel responsible to every inch of this country. against the plundering and destruction of the Munzur Valley (National Parks), Ayder Alm, Lake Salda, Hasankeyf, Kaz Mountains, Mersins, Sinops, North Anatolian Forests, Istanbul, and the centennial olive groves and lands of Thrace with pretexts such as coal area, nuclear base, quarry, pipeline, tourism, urban renewal, etc.
The enforcement regulations and practices whose political hostility is expressed in the laws and court decisions, although it is a globally outlawed practice to subject people to torture in isolation, to arbitrarily deprive them of their right to books and publications, to mutual exchange, freedom of expression, the receipt of news and communication, and to deprive them of their freedom “to the death” by means of an aggravated lifelong prison regime, must be abolished!
The use of prisoners’ diseases as a means of torture must be stopped!
We are on hunger strike to defend human dignity against the isolation
and the torture of sick prisoners.
We are on hunger strike to show that we will never be helpless, that we will never give up demanding our rights and defending our dignity as the highest good. And we will win!