UN Special Rapporteur calls on Turkey to guarantee a fair process for Judge Murat Arslan

Mr. Diego Garcia-Sayàn called the authorities in Turkey to guarantee a fair appeals process for award-winning senior Judge Murat Arslan, who has been convicted in violation of due process and judicial guarantees.

Special Rapporteur further mentioned the unjust case of Murat Arslan, a former Chair of the Association of Judges and Prosecutors, has been in jail since his arrest on 18 October 2016.

“The conviction of Judge Arslan constitutes a severe and gross attack on the independence of the judiciary in Turkey, and in a democratic state under the rule of law an independent and impartial judiciary is a fundamental guarantee for society as a whole,” said the UN human rights expert.

For the press release of the OHCHR (link).

Guidelines of the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe on electronic evidence in civil and administrative proceedings

(Adopted by the Committee of Ministers on 30 January 2019,
at the 1335th meeting of the Ministers’ Deputies)

The Committee of Ministers,

Considering that the aim of the Council of Europe is to achieve a greater unity between the member States, in particular by promoting the adoption of common rules in legal matters;

Considering the necessity of providing practical guidance for the handling of electronic evidence in civil and administrative proceedings to courts and other competent authorities with adjudicative functions; professionals, including legal practitioners; and parties to proceedings;

Considering that these guidelines seek to provide a common framework rather than a harmonisation of the national legislation of the member States;

Considering the need to respect the diversity in the legal systems of the member States;

Acknowledging the progress made in the member States towards the digitisation of their justice systems;

Noting, nonetheless, obstacles to the effective management of electronic evidence within justice systems, such as the lack of common standards and the diversity and complexity of evidence-taking procedures;

Highlighting the need to facilitate the use of electronic evidence within legal systems and in court practices;

Recognising the need for member States to examine current deficiencies in the use of electronic evidence and to identify the areas where electronic evidence principles and practices could be introduced or improved;

Noting that the aim of these guidelines is to provide practical solutions to the existing deficiencies in law and practice,

Adopts the following guidelines to serve as a practical tool for the member States, to assist them in adapting the operation of their judicial and other dispute-resolution mechanisms to address issues arising in relation to electronic evidence in civil and administrative proceedings, and invites them to disseminate these guidelines widely with a view to their implementation by those responsible for, or otherwise handling, electronic evidence.

Purpose and scope

The guidelines deal with:

–                    oral evidence taken by a remote link;

–                    use of electronic evidence;

–                    collection, seizure and transmission of evidence;

–                    relevance;

–                    reliability;

–                    storage and preservation;

–                    archiving;

–                    awareness-raising, review, training and education.

The guidelines are not to be interpreted as prescribing a specific probative value for certain types of electronic evidence and are to be applied only insofar as they are not in conflict with national legislation.

The guidelines aim to facilitate the use and management of electronic evidence within legal systems and in court practices.


For the purposes of these guidelines:

Electronic evidence

“Electronic evidence” means any evidence derived from data contained in or produced by any device, the functioning of which depends on a software program or data stored on or transmitted over a computer system or network.


“Metadata” refers to electronic information about other electronic data, which may reveal the identification, origin or history of the evidence, as well as relevant dates and times.

Trust service

“Trust service” means an electronic service which consists of:

a.     the creation, verification and validation of electronic signatures, electronic seals or electronic time stamps, electronic registered delivery services and certificates related to those services; or

b.     the creation, verification and validation of certificates for website authentication; or

c.     the preservation of electronic signatures, seals or certificates related to those services.


The term “court” includes any competent authority with adjudicative functions in the performance of which it handles electronic evidence.

Fundamental principles

It is for courts to decide on the potential probative value of electronic evidence in accordance with national law.

Electronic evidence should be evaluated in the same way as other types of evidence, in particular regarding its admissibility, authenticity, accuracy and integrity.

The treatment of electronic evidence should not be disadvantageous to the parties or give unfair advantage to one of them.


Oral evidence taken by remote link

1.            Oral evidence can be taken remotely, using technical devices, if the nature of the evidence so permits.

2.            When deciding whether oral evidence can be taken remotely, the courts should consider, in particular, the following factors:

–           the significance of the evidence;

–           the status of the person giving evidence;

–           the security and integrity of the video link through which the evidence is to be transmitted;

–           costs and difficulties of bringing the relevant person to court.

3.            When taking evidence remotely, it is necessary to ensure that:

a.    the transmission of the oral evidence can be seen and heard by those involved in the proceedings and by members of the public where the proceedings are held in public; and

b.    the person being heard from a remote location is able to see and hear the proceedings to the extent necessary to ensure that they are conducted fairly and effectively.

4.            The procedure and technologies applied to the taking of evidence from a remote location should not compromise the admissibility of such evidence and the ability of the court to establish the identity of the persons concerned.

5.            Irrespective of whether evidence is transmitted via a private or a public connection, the quality of the videoconference should be ensured and the video signal encrypted to protect against interception.

Use of electronic evidence

6.            Courts should not refuse electronic evidence and should not deny its legal effect only because it is collected and/or submitted in an electronic form.

7.            In principle, courts should not deny the legal effect of electronic evidence only because it lacks an advanced, qualified or similarly secured electronic signature.

8.            Courts should be aware of the probative value of metadata and of the potential consequences of not using it.

9.            Parties should be permitted to submit electronic evidence in its original electronic format, without the need to supply printouts.

Collection, seizure and transmission

10.          Electronic evidence should be collected in an appropriate and secure manner, and submitted to the courts using reliable services, such as trust services.

11.          Having regard to the higher risk of the potential destruction or loss of electronic evidence compared to non-electronic evidence, member States should establish procedures for the secure seizure and collection of electronic evidence.

12.          Courts should be aware of the specific issues that arise when dealing with the seizure and collection of electronic evidence abroad, including in cross-border cases.

13.          Courts should co-operate in the cross-border taking of evidence. The court receiving the request should inform the requesting court of all the conditions, including restrictions, under which evidence can be taken by the requested court.

14.          Electronic evidence should be collected, structured and managed in a manner that facilitates its transmission to other courts, in particular to an appellate court.

15.          Transmission of electronic evidence by electronic means should be encouraged and facilitated in order to improve efficiency in court proceedings.

16.          Systems and devices used for transmitting electronic evidence should be capable of maintaining its integrity.


17.          Courts should engage in the active management of electronic evidence in order, in particular, to avoid excessive or speculative provision of, or demand for, electronic evidence.

18.          Courts may require the analysis of electronic evidence by experts, especially when complex evidentiary issues are raised or where manipulation of electronic evidence is alleged. Courts should decide whether such persons have sufficient expertise in the matter.


19.          As regards reliability, courts should consider all relevant factors concerning the source and authenticity of the electronic evidence.

20.          Courts should be aware of the value of trust services in establishing the reliability of electronic evidence.

21.          As far as a national legal system permits, and subject to the court’s discretion, electronic data should be accepted as evidence unless the authenticity of such data is challenged by one of the parties.

22.          As far as a national legal system permits, and subject to the court’s discretion, the reliability of the electronic data should be presumed, provided that the identity of the signatory can be validated and the integrity of the data secured, unless and until there are reasonable doubts to the contrary.

23.          Where applicable law provides special protection for categories of vulnerable persons that law should have precedence over these guidelines.

24.          As far as a national legal system so provides, where a public authority transmits electronic evidence independently of the parties, such evidence is conclusive as to its content, unless and until proved to the contrary.

Storage and preservation

25.          Electronic evidence should be stored in a manner that preserves readability, accessibility, integrity, authenticity, reliability and, where applicable, confidentiality and privacy.

26.          Electronic evidence should be stored with standardised metadata so that the context of its creation is clear.

27.          The readability and accessibility of stored electronic evidence should be guaranteed over time, taking into account the evolution of information technology.


28.          Courts should archive electronic evidence in accordance with national law. Electronic archives should meet all safety requirements and guarantee the integrity, authenticity, confidentiality and quality of the data as well as respect for privacy.

29.          The archiving of electronic evidence should be carried out by qualified specialists.

30.          Data should be migrated to new storage media when necessary in order to preserve accessibility to electronic evidence.

Awareness-raising, review, training and education

31.          Member States should promote awareness of the benefits and value of electronic evidence in civil and administrative proceedings.

32.          Member States should keep technical standards related to electronic evidence under review.

33.          All professionals dealing with electronic evidence should have access to the necessary interdisciplinary training on how to handle such evidence.

34.          Judges and legal practitioners should be aware of the evolution of information technologies which may affect the availability and value of electronic evidence.

35.          Legal education should include modules on electronic evidence.

– https://www.coe.int/en/web/portal/-/committee-of-ministers-adopts-guidelines-on-electronic-evidence-in-civil-and-administrative-proceedin-1

– https://search.coe.int/cm/Pages/result_details.aspx?ObjectId=0900001680902e0c

HRD has issued a new Report on Bylock which is used as a tool by Erdogan Regime to incriminate people

ByLock is not an application that is used in the so-called coup attempt on 15th July 2016 as the Erdogan Regime and the media claims. Because this application was closed five months before the coup attempt, in March 2016.

How did a digital communication application, become a material of for the Erdogan regime the justification for arresting more than 60 thousand people in Turkey?

President Erdogan, who claimed to have learned the so-called coup attempt on 15th July 2016 (15/7) from his brother-in-law during the attempt, declared the supporters of Gülen movement as the perpetrators of the coup, whom he considered being responsible for the 17th /25th December 2013 Corruption and Bribery operations.

The “Erdogan Regime” dismissed approximately four thousand judges and prosecutors of their duties on 17th July 2016, right afterwards of the coup attempt, with the claim of being coup plotters and arrested many of them in order to establish his own judicial system.

Later on, he had thousands of people arrested. Among them journalists, teachers, doctors, lawyers and businessmen. The common characteristic of these people was being opposed to the Erdogan Regime.

Those arrests are generally justified by reasons such as writing critical columns, depositing money to a legal bank, sending their children to the schools allegedly having ties to Gülen movement and being members to legal unions and foundations.

Erdogan and his judiciary, who knew that these claims are not enough to justify the arrests, needed a new excuse to strengthen the claims why they have arrested the opposition.

Within this need, they made the perception that the “ByLock” application have been used in 15th of July Coup Attempt only by Gülen supporters. They made people believe that the ByLock application is classified, incognito and only known by the members of Hizmet Movement, installed differently to the devices and encrypted.

After they made this perception accepted by the society, the lists of names which were prepared by  unknown people in unknown dates from the National Intelligence Agency (MIT), which has no authority and function as a law enforcement agency, were sent to the units of judiciary and then accepted as concrete evidence for the alleged crimes of being a member to a terrorist organization by judiciary without questioning.

ByLock application is not an application that is used in the so-called coup attempt as the Erdogan Regime and the media claims. Because this application was closed five months before the coup attempt, in March 2016.

ByLock application was not an application that only had been used by Hizmet Movement members secretly, because it was an application that was downloaded more than 600.000 times from Google Play Store and App Store worldwide. The Bylock application, which is presented as an enigmatic, encrypted application was even simpler than the applications such as WhatsApp, Viber, Line and Tango.

But as a result of this perception, approximately 17.000 women along with their 668 babies were arrested in Turkey with the accusations of using ByLock. The number of total arrests is around 60 thousand and it is increasing. The members of judiciary who questioned this process with suspicion are either expelled or dismissed from their duties. Therefore, it was seen as a necessity to prepare this Report, aiming to show that all the announcements and procedure of judiciary and National Intelligence Agency, under the control of the Erdogan Regime, regarding ByLock are in fact to create a groundless perception.

World Justice Project’s research team has issued Rule of Law Index 2017- 2018

The WJP Rule of Law Index measures rule of law adherence in 113 countries and jurisdictions worldwide based on more than 110,000 household and 3,000 expert surveys. Featuring primary data, the WJP Rule of Law Index measures countries’ rule of law performance across eight factors: Constraints on Government Powers, Absence of Corruption, Open Government, Fundamental Rights, Order and Security, Regulatory Enforcement, Civil Justice, and Criminal Justice.

Download report (PDF) or
Explore the interactive data 

“The Platform for an Independent Judiciary in Turkey” has drafted a letter about Turkey

“The Platform for an Independent Judiciary in Turkey” has drafted a letter about Turkey

On the occasion of the Human Rights Day 2018, the Platform for an Independent Judiciary in Turkey , composed of the four major European associations of judges ( The Association of European Administrative Judges (AEAJ) , The European Association of Judges , Judges for Judges and The “Magistrats Europeens pour la Democratie et les Libertes” (MEDEL) drafted a letter about Turkey ,inviting all governmental leaders and parliaments to support Turkey to re-install the rule of law and to follow its obligation to respect fundamental human rights.

Read with source: https://www.iaj-uim.org/news/human-rights-day-2018-letter-of-the-platform-for-an-independent-judiciary-in-turkey/

‘Kidnapping on behalf of Erdogan- The Abducted’

The regime of Turkish president Erdoğan is kidnapping dozens of members of the Gülen movement from around the world. Victims are now raising a serious accusation: secret torture sites are part of the repression. A team of nine media organizations from eight countries, coordinated by CORRECTIV, investigates.

CORRECTIV – Germany:

LE MONDE – France:

FRONTAL 21 / ZDF – Germany:



TT – Sweden:

HAARETZ – Israel:



10 December 2018, Press Release regarding human rights violations in Turkey

With a press release in front of European Court of Human Rights, HRD members and volunteers drew attention to the human rights violations in Turkey.
Human Rights Defenders invited the European Court of Human Rights to take an effective initiative.


70 years ago, on the 10th of December 1948, “The Universal Declaration of Human Rights” was adopted by the UN General Assembly. Both, the “Universal Declaration of Human Rights” and the “European Convention on Human Rights” envisages and embraces the basic and fundamental rights and freedoms of people, which should be under the protection of the States and above all of them, of the United Nations.

As we observe the 70th Anniversary of this significant and historical Day, we unfortunately do witness that this protection is not granted to everyone, and those who should serve this goal are acting inconsequently. The European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) which we apply to, does not fulfill its function in accordance with its purpose of establishment. The Court did not develop court practices within its range of authority to prevent human rights’ violations and ignores millions of “human rights violations” which can even be seen with bare eyes.

In Turkey, human righs violations today became massive, and each day these violations become irretrievable. The Turkish Government, or rather the notorious “Erdogan Regime” as it is now, has become a despotic rule, comparing to the much promising State which it was a half a decade ago, had strong relations with European Union. The Turkish Government, turned its back on reforms related to human rights and further democratization efforts starting from December 2013 swiftly and became a literal dictatorship after 15 July 2016. Right now, it is impossible to talk about even the very existence of fundamental rights and freedoms. Everything is at the mercy of one person, and the basic human rights are unfortunately ignored.

These human rights violations in Turkey are reflected in several international reports such as “2017 report of Human Rights Watch”, “2017 report of Office of The United Nations High Commissioner For Human Rights”, “the 2018 report of Amnesty International”, “the 2018 report of the Platform of Peace and Justice regarding the children rights’ violations in Turkey”, “the 2018 report of European Parliament”.

Although, that in those international reports, as well as the some verdicts such as the verdict of the local court in England and thousands of petitions written by the victims of the Erdogan Regime it is expressed that THERE IS NO SUCH RIGHT AS FAIR TRIAL, the ECHR ignores the facts and turns a blind eye on the human right violations in Turkey.

So, what exactly is happening in Turkey in terms of human rights violations? In Turkey, the rights which are ensured by the Universal Declaration of Human Rights are violated. Such as:

1- In Turkey, the most fundamental right of people, “the Right to live” is taken away,

  • -In Eastern and South Eastern provinces, tens of villages and towns are destroyed, tens of thousands of Kurdish people were forced to leave their homes
  • -Trustees are assigned to the provincial offices that are affiliated to the Ruling Party to ignore the will of the local people
  • -In prisons, thousands of convicts and prisoners’ right to live is taken away, by systematic tortures and depriving their rights of healthcare
  • -The people of the “Hizmet” movement and any other civil society organizations which seem to be opposing are targeted by hate speeches and witch hunts, therefore, their right to live is taken away from them.
  • -Tens of politicians of the opposition, hundreds of journalists are kept in prisons because of their political believes.

2- The “Right to Work” is stolen.

  • -With decree-laws, more than 130.000 people (whose victimhood is explained detailly in the 2018 report of Amnesty International) are dismissed from public duties, of them 33.500 teachers, 7.000 health workers, 31.500 security workers, 6.000 academics, 39.000 public servants, 13.000 soldiers.
  • -More than 100.000 employees from the companies (schools, universities, study houses, hospitals, foundations, federations, unions, media institutions) which are closed by confiscation or assigning trustees are dismissed from their jobs. They are prevented to find other jobs in different places by the State further. They are left to a “civil death”.
  • -The workers are working under extreme and worst conditions (e.g. the construction of Istanbul airport) and unfortunately many workers are facing death every day. Child workers are being employed and current unions cannot say any critic.

3- In Turkey, the Right of Property of people is arbitrarily taken away.

  • -In Eastern and Southeastern provinces, the houses and lands which were evacuated because of the suspect of terror are confiscated and people were prevented to return to their homes
  • -All the assets of the institutions and persons of Hizmet movement are usurped and made available to the supporters of the regime.
  • -With arbitrary decisions, the environment is being damaged, and the ecologic balance is destroyed, the lands of people are confiscated with low costs (e.g. the project of Kanal Istanbul)

4- The “Right of not being subject to torture” of people is being violated

  • -Torture, which conflicts with human dignity became again a routine in Turkey. All the opposition receives systematic torture. (This situation is indicated clearly in the March 2018 report of the UN Human Rights)
  • -More than half of all journalists who are in prison in all over the world, 259 people, are in Turkish prisons right now. These people are treated as terrorists and tortured.

5- The “Right to assembly and demonstration” is being violated.

  • -Hundreds of NGO’s are closed and their assets confiscated including unions (e.g. AksionIs and Cihansen)
  • -The fundamental right of democracy to demonstrate and meet is cancelled by the governors who became the political tools of the government

6- In Turkey, the “Right to fair trial” is consciously destroyed

  • -4500 prosecutors and judges who constitute one third of all current judges and prosecutors in Turkey are exported from the duty. Nearly all of them are issued arrest warrants
  • -Currently 3500 prosecutors-judges and 1500 lawyers in Turkey are in prisons.
  • -The verdict of ECHR is not applied (e.g. the Selahattin Demirtaş decision of ECHR)
  • -The verdicts of the Constitutional Court are not applied by the local courts (e.g. the decision of the Constitutional Court about journalist Mehmet Altan and Şahin Alpay)
  • -The people who are labeled as “spies, terrorists” are evacuated in few days when states got involved (pastor Brunson, journalist Deniz Yucel etc.) but the convicts who suffer from cancer are not even sent to the any medical treatment.
  • -The judges who are supposed to be neutral and independent do not consider it harmful to announce their political beliefs, which are mostly in line with the ruling Erdagan Regime.
  • -The bill of indictments is not prepared. The people stay in prisons for months but cannot even learn the accusations against them. (Osman Kavala is kept in prison for a year without preparing his bill of indictment)
  • -There are arbitrary long imprisonments. The judges are afraid to evacuate people.
  • -743 babies are kept in prisons along with their mothers.
  • As the reassurance of all fundamental rights and freedoms, the “RIGHT TO FAIR TRIAL” is removed, there is no guarantee for any rights in Turkey now.

Today, the only HOPE against the crimes of hate, discrimination and torture committed by the oppressive regime in Turkey is the existence of law. The notorious “Erdogan Regime” commits crimes against the universal principles of law by its acts of crimes against humanity. It deprived the Republic of Turkey which was loyal to the international agreements it has signed from law and democratic values. This should not be allowed.

The ECHR in Europe, which was established to protect the human rights was an institution that set an example to the world. But the court is criticized by prestigious legal experts and institutions because of the decisions it made and the decisions it didn’t make. This delay of ECHR to decide is expressed in international conferences and meetings often. Letters are sent to the court by renowned law circles and the attitude of the court is examined in universities by being subjects to theses. The ECHR cannot hide behind the excuse of not exhausted domestic remedies anymore. About tens of files which are issued in 2014, processed in all phases and finalized, for which there is no option of domestic remedies now, the court hesitates to decide. Its hesitation to decide in many files in which the human right violations are proved makes the impression as if it negotiated with the “Erdogan regime” in the world. And this strengthens the critics saying that the ECHR stopped being an independent and neutral court and became a political institution. All the reputation of the court gained in years is somehow being destroyed. The ECHR cannot run away from its responsibility regarding what is happening in Turkey and its attitude will definitely remembered in history. We as the volunteers of “Human Rights Defenders” call the ECHR to take responsibility about what is happening in Turkey in accordance with its historical mission and previous acts and to fulfill its duty.

The ECHR SHOULD NOT BECOME PARTNERS IN CRIME of the crimes committed by the “Erdogan Regime”. We as the volunteers of “Human Rights Defenders” warn ECHR and invite them to fulfill their duty on the occasion of “World Human Rights Day”.

“Human Rights Defenders” closely follows the human rights violations in Turkey. It carries the files of the victims to the international authorities such as the ECHR, UN Human Rights Committee and UN Committee against Torture to continue its legal struggle. Even there are sufferings left because of the victimizations, the law will eventually prevail, the ones who sided with law will eventually prevail.

As the volunteers of “Human Rights Defenders”, we would like to arouse attention of the institutions of International Law, the ECHR being first, to the human rights violations in Turkey on the occasion of 10th December World Human Rights Day. We are calling those institutions to duty and asking them to take effective initiatives in order to say STOP to the unlawfulness in Turkey.

Respectfully announced to the public: 10.12.2018



A Coup of Coffee

A group of scriptwriters try to convince the filmmaker by presenting a unique story. The story is about a self-inflicted dictator. The film has to be at the same time low-budget.
Within the this fantastic short film, you will see the very similar story of Coup Attempt in Turkey on July 15, 2016.

Uygur woman describes tortures in China detention camp

China takes millions of Uyghur Turks into concentration camps, where many torture methods including electric shocks are being used. The heartbreaking experience of this woman has proved that Chine commit a big crime against humanity.

Who is Human Rights Defenders

Human rights are the basic rights and freedoms that belong to every person in the world, from birth to death. They apply regardless of where you are from, what you believe or how you choose to live your life.

These basic rights are based on shared values like dignity, fairness, equality, respect and independence. These values are defined and protected by law.

However, crimes against humanity are still being committed today.These crimes are not isolated or sporadic events, but are part either of a government policy or of a wide practice of atrocities tolerated or condoned by a government or a de facto authority.

War crimes, murder, massacres, dehumanization, genocide, ethnic cleansing, deportations, unethical human experimentation, extrajudicial punishments including summary executions, use of WMDs, state terrorism or state sponsoring of terrorism, death squads, kidnappings and forced disappearances, military use of children, unjust imprisonment, enslavement, cannibalism, torture, rape, political repression, racial discrimination, religious persecution, and other human rights abuses may reach the threshold of crimes against humanity if they are part of a widespread or systematic practice.

With the inspiration of Universal Decleration of Human Rights, HRD works for a world in which everyone has basic human rights and human rights are embraced, practiced and protected by all.

Human Rights Defenders (HRD) is a nonprofit and nongovernmental organization, as an international civil society organisation, HRD is independent of any political ideology, economic interest or religion. It has aim to support people who are exposed to all kinds of crimes against humanity. We work to defend right to life, rule of law, right to privacy, freedom of expression, freedom of thought, conscience and religion, freedom of associations.





Social media & sharing icons powered by UltimatelySocial