Berlin, Germany – A seven day training program titled ‘Fighting against Human Rights Violations in Semi-Authoritarian Political Systems’ took place in Berlin during early November. It was organized by the Freedom for Friedrich Naumann Foundation (FNST) and Media and Law Studies Association (MLSA).
Turkish lawyers from MLSA's Freedom of Expression Network were able to attend and work alongside German colleagues and academics with expertise in freedom of expression and press freedom.
The first two days of the program were led by Dr. Robert Esser, a professor at Palau University. Dr. Esser’s workshops focused on the procedure for applying to the European Court of Human Rights. Antonia von der Bahrens and Stefan Conen, both lawyers, then contributed with presentations of criminal procedure and judicial assistance. Turkish lawyers were able to provide a comparative perspective by describing Turkish legal precedents, criminal procedure and defense practices.
The program also facilitated visits to the headquarters of the German Human Rights Institute, German Federal Bar Association, Human Rights Watch, Germany Reporters Without Borders, Human Rights Matters, Berlin Lawyers Association and the German Judges Association. By visiting domestic and global organizations focused on free speech and press freedom the Turkish participants were able to identify new press freedom-centric defense strategies and advocacy tools. The Turkish participants were also able to share their own stories of the difficulties that lawyers and journalists in Turkey face in their professional work, helping to build a coalition of international partners who can help resist human rights violations in Turkey.
The Turkish attendees were Hürrem Sönmez, Gülizar Tuncer, Jiyan Kaya, Yılmaz Özgür Biçen and Barış Oflas. Veysel Ok and Zelal Pelin Doğan from MLSA's Legal Unit also participated.
Updated: November 27 2018