Free Democratic Party MP Schnarrenberger: Veysel Ok has the right to fair trial

1 December 2018

Germany Free Democratic Party MP Sabine Leutheusser-Schnarrenberger addresses criminal case of Turkey Lawyer Veysel Ok

Turkey lawyer Veysel Ok’s 10th hearing was held on 22 November 2018, at İstanbul 37. Criminal Court of First Instance. His case was adjourned once again, after the judge had recused himself from Ok’s case at the previous hearing which was held on July 17, 2018. The newly appointed judge stated that the case was out of her court’s jurisdiction, and referred it to İstanbul 2. Criminal Court of First Instance. No hearing date was set. Ok, who is charged with ‘insulting the judicial organs of the state’ because of his critical statements about the Turkish judiciary from a 2015 interview, is facing two years in prison.

European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) constitutes the basis for our shared European values, which include the right to fair trial, insofar as the right to freedom of expression. These values protect democracy and the state of law. The first paragraph of Article 6 of the ECHR grants everyone a right to trial within a reasonable time period.

Turkey became a party to the ECHR in the year 1954, recognizing the shared values of Europe and pledged to protect human rights. The website of the Turkish Foreign Affairs Ministry still refers to the ECHR, and states that they are bound by it. However, for this allegiance to not remain unfulfilled, Turkey has to provide the conditions and principles of a state of law. Only under these conditions, the state of law can provide a basis to protect the rights of its citizens both within the boundaries of Turkey and in others parts of Europe. Therefore, as a citizen of Turkey Veysel Ok has the right to fair trial just like everyone else in Europe and around the world.