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The Trial of Selahattin Demirtas: Observations on the trial and the future of democracy in Turkey

The Trial of Selahattin Demirtas: Observations on the trial and the future of democracy in Turkey

Public meeting organised by Peace in Kurdistan and Kurdish People’s Assembly UK

Thu 17 May 2018
18:00 – 20:00 BST

SOAS University of London
Room B111 (Brunei Gallery)
Thornhaugh Street, Russell Square London WC1H 0XG

Click below to book a place at this free event:

The prosecution and trial of Selahattin Demirtas has been one of the great scandals of recent years in Europe. Demirtas, an elected politician and co-leader of the People’s Democratic Party in Turkey (HDP), has been in detention since November 2016 on the most dubious charges. The HDP is the second largest opposition party in Turkey and is progressive and democratic. It advocates for rights for all progressive forces, including importantly the Kurds.

The election success of the HDP in 2015, when it broke through the 10% electoral threshold and gained 80 seats, sparked a democratic crisis in Turkey. Party members, elected officers and Party offices of the HDP were attacked with impunity. Elected politicians were arrested and charged with terrorism related offences, often in relation to the content of speeches made in Parliament. The Government took over almost all municipalities in the South-East of the country, depriving the electorate of their chosen representatives.

The indictment against Demirtas runs to 500 pages and accuses him of being a leading member of the PKK, of spreading propaganda and of praising criminals, but the evidence is mainly based on his public speeches and lacks any compelling evidence of criminal behaviour.

Margaret Owen and Ali Has, both London based lawyers, have been the most consistent observers of the on-going trial of Demirtas, visiting Turkey regularly, despite all the obstacles that the authorities have consistently thrown in their way. Their observation reports have documented numerous flagrant breaches of internationally recognised standards of fair trial.

At this meeting they, and London lawyer Stephen Knight who also observed one of the hearings, will expand on their observations and set out their concerns about the process, the political context, in particular the forthcoming election and the invasion of Afrin, and about the likely miscarriage of justice that will ensue as the trial approaches its final stages.


Margaret Owen OBE, Lawyer, Door tenant at 9 Bedford Row, feminist, activist founder and director Widows for Peace through Democracy, Patron Peace in Kurdistan Campaign.
Ali Has, Solicitor Advocate, member of the Law Society International Human Rights Intervention Team.
Stephen Knight, criminal defence and immigration barrister at 1 Pump Court Chambers, Secretary of the Haldane Society of Socialist Lawyers.


Image supplied by Margaret Owen

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International News Opportunities Upcoming Events

The Role of the Private Sector in Fostering Peace, Justice, and Strong Institutions (SDG 16)

The Role of the Private Sector in Fostering Peace, Justice, and Strong Institutions (SDG 16)

The Global Rule of Law Exchange (of The Bingham Centre for the Rule of Law) is hosting a conference on 2nd May 2018 at Jones Day in London (21 Tudor Street, EC4Y0DJ). Registration for the event will open at 8:30, with the conference itself starting at 9:00 and finishing at 18:00. A reception is to be held afterwards. Although the event is free to attend, advance registration is still required.

Event Summary:

The 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development encompass a wide range of ambitious objectives, from ending poverty, to improving global health, providing education for all, and mitigating climate change. The private sector role in achieving these goals is widely understood; however, it is often viewed as consisting exclusively of financing development initiatives, generating economic growth, job creation, or tax revenue.

SDG 16, relating to peace, justice and strong institutions, presents a set of issues of particular salience to the private sector, including a number of factors that directly foster stable business environments. This conference will consider various questions arising from the intersection of business and SDG 16, including:

• Why should the business community engage to advance SDG 16′s themes of peace, justice and strong institutions?

• In what ways might the SDGs generally, and SDG 16 in particular, be “good for business”?

• What is the business community’s role in advancing SDG 16? What tools and instruments can help the private sector work to advance the Goal? How can the private sector engage with other stakeholders, including government, in advancing SDG 16?

• What are actions, both internal and external, that business can take to concretely advance SDG 16?

• Does commitment to SDG16 conflict with or complement other compliance and reporting requirements, including on human rights?

• How and where should the private sector deploy its resources in an effective way to meet these various obligations?

Featured speakers at the event will include:

Esteban Mezzano (General Counsel Zone Americas & Legal in Sustainability & CSV Nestlé) David Croft (Global Sustainability Director, Diageo, Helen Dodds, Global Head, Legal, Dispute Resolution, Standard Chartered Bank) Nicola Port (Senior Vice President, International Counsel at Chubb), Richard Morgan (Head of Government Relations, Anglo American), Alejandro Alvarez (Chief, Rule of Law Unit, Executive Office of UN Secretary-General).

The Keynote speakers will be Manoelle Lepoutre (Senior Vice President, Civil and Society Engagement, Total) and Harriett Baldwin MP (Minister of State for Africa at the Foreign & Commonwealth Office and Minister of State for International Development).

Representatives from Safaricom, Sahara Group and other distinguished speakers/thought leaders from the policy worlds (UNGC, OECD, Pathfinders Programme, etc) will also be in attendance.

Click below to read the event flyer:

And click the following link to book a ticket and to visit the official webpage for the conference:


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9 Bedford Row in London Legal Walk 2018

9 Bedford Row in London Legal Walk 2018

The 9 Bedford Row Chambers team for this year’s London Legal Walk, taking place on Monday 21st May, currently consists of Steven Kay QC, Patricia May, Puneet Grewal, Aneurin Brewer, Drea Becker and Alex Matthews (with more to follow). Like last year, the walk is with the Lord Chief Justice and thousands of lawyers to raise funds for the London Legal Support Trust which funds Law Centres and pro bono agencies in and around London. The route for the walk is 10km along the River Thames and starts at around 5.30pm.

If you would like to learn more and make a donation please access the link below:


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Steven Kay QC Case Involving Liechtenstein Trust Company Featured in Article for Independent

Steven Kay QC Case Involving Liechtenstein Trust Company Featured in Article for Independent

A piece for the Independent website features a case currently being worked on by Steven Kay QC. It concerns a woman called Tamar Perry, who is involved in legal proceedings against a trust company based in Liechtenstein: the Lopag Trust. The article itself focuses on Liechtenstein’s role as a tax haven.

Ms Perry and her family have been unable to gain access to their fortune in the trust that was settled by her late father, an Israeli tycoon. Ms Perry believes the principal trustee: Dr Dieter Neupert, a Swiss lawyer, is responsible. Furthermore she suspects the directors of Lopag: Louis Oehri and Dominik Naeff to also be involved. According to the article Neupert denies the allegations and and the Lopag Trust have been limited in their responses to the claims.

The Liechtenstein court has concluded that neither Tamar Perry nor the other beneficiaries have any legal rights. Taking this into account, Ms Perry has secured the services of Steven Kay QC to help in her proceedings against Dieter Neupert, Oehri and Naeff.

Ms Perry told the Independent that: “I just want to warn people that if they are thinking of placing their assets in a trust registered in Liechtenstein, then they should run away as fast as possible because they will find that the trustees will become the beneficiaries.”

“Then the judge and Liechtenstein Trust committee will take the side of the trustees. I’m sure I’m not the only one who has been set up in this way but I intend to be the last one. The lesson here is that you cannot always trust the trustees,” she added.

The article can be read in full on the Independent website, by accessing the link below:


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Text source: – 8th March 2018

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