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Threats on the Legal Profession


Every day, lawyers are harassed, threatened, prosecuted, imprisoned or even murdered, simply for carrying out their professional activities. In recent years, these attacks have intensified around the world, including in Europe. On 19 February 2019, a hearing specifically dedicated to attacks against the legal profession was held by the European Parliament’s Subcommittee on Human Rights (DROI) in Brussels. The hearing highlighted the different types of persecution perpetrated against lawyers, drawing on examples from countries where lawyers are victims of human rights violations. This event also provided an opportunity to present and evaluate the European Union’s existing tools to assist lawyers and, more generally, human rights defenders around the world. The brochure opposite was published to mark this hearing.

The CCBE supports the call for urgent action initiated by the Turkey Human Rights Litigation Support Project, addressed to the United Nations special rapporteurs requesting to end the arbitrary detention and long-term imprisonment of 18 Turkish lawyers and to stop all forms of harassment against lawyers in Turkey. The letter has been co-signed by 24 lawyers’ organisations, Bars/Law Societies and human rights organisations.

Joint call to the UN for urgent action in support of Turkish lawyers

In March 2019, Iranian lawyer and human rights defender Nasrin Sotoudeh was sentenced to 33 years in prison and 148 lashes. Freed in 2013 after several years of imprisonment, she was again incarcerated on 13 June 2018 for publicly opposing the mandatory wearing of the veil and for defending in the media one of her clients who had removed her scarf in public. The CCBE and other lawyers’ organisations and Bars are calling for her immediate release.

The French National Bar Council (CNB) has launched a petition calling for her release, which has been signed by many lawyers and Bars. We invite you to sign this petition which is available here.

Human Rights Letters