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Case against Lawyer Tahir Elci

The trial against Lawyer Tahir Elçi will continue at Eskişehir Criminal Court on 31 January 2008. Below is a summary of the case.

Lawyer Elçi is facing a sentence between 6 months and 3 years in prison on charges of making comments that constituted an intervention in the judicial process and influenced the fairness of the trial. Lawyer Elçi, one of the intervening lawyers in the trial launched against four police officers for killing Ahmet Kaymaz and his son, Uğur Kaymaz, in Kızıltepe, Mardin in 2004, had made a press statement after an eventful hearing held at Eskişehir Criminal Court on 19 December 2005. In his press statement, Lawyer Elçi had commented on the attitude of the presiding judge Osman Açar, who had failed to keep proper minutes of the criminal proceedings. Upon this statement, the prosecutor's office requested authorization from the Ministry of Justice for an investigation against Lawyer Elçi, which had approved this request on 13 March 2006. Subsequently,Lawyer Elçi was indicted under Article 288(1) of the Turkish Penal Code for certain expressions which have been extracted from the press statement he made: "I do not think we observe a fair proceeding… These events took place because the presiding judge did not act fair enough… Our demands and requests were ignored… We observed an attitude implying that we were not taken seriously.. We request an independent proceeding… We request that the justice is served here…"

The first two hearings of the trial against Lawyer Elçi were held on 14 June 2007 and 30 October 2007, during which the panel of judges withdrew because they were involved in the trial concerning the killing of Ahmet and Uğur Kaymaz. In the hearing on 31 January 2008, the court will cross-examine Lawyer Elçi and hear his testimony.

Lawyer Elçi, a founding member of the Human Rights Foundation of Turkey, member of Human Rights Association and member of Diyarbakır Bar Association, declared that he has fulfilled his duty as an intervening party, without violating the limits and authorizations provided for under the constitution and the Law on Lawyers.

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