60 lawyers meet over flotilla lawsuits in Istanbul 16Jul10 July 18, 2010

Ma’an News Agency  -  16 July 2001

Sixty lawyers from 25 countries gathered in Istanbul to discuss their legal defense of activists on board the Freedom Flotilla, which was raided by Israeli forces in international waters, one of the fleet’s Turkish organizers said Friday.

The Foundation for Human Rights and Freedoms and Humanitarian Relief, known as IHH, said lawyers agreed on a “road map” for their legal defense in the lawsuits, a statement read.

The lawyers told reporters at the Akgun Hotel that they will be working for the legal rights of victims from 36 countries, including Israel, as well as those on board Mavi Marmara, which Israeli forces raided, killing nine participants.

Ramazan Ariturk, an attorney from Elmadag Law Firm, said their defense plan will be based on international legal values and principles, with an “aim [..] to bring about a brand new outlook on the international judicial conception and to re-establish the rule of law,” IHH wrote.

Ariturk also noted that their legal battle is not aimed at targeting the people of Israel. “If it was the people of Israel who were subjected to such injustice, we would still be acting the same way. This gathering is not a gathering-around-hate as some people with bad intentions claim.”

Furkan Dogan, a 19-year-old dual Turkish-US citizen, and the eight others killed by Israeli forces, will be defended in the same way, the statement added.

Lawsuits have been filed in some countries and other cases are in their final stages before being launched, the lawyer added. Ariturk also mentioned their efforts to file an international lawsuit and to establish an international commission for investigating the attack on the flotilla.

Lawyers at the meeting were representing nationals from various countries including Israel, the US, the UK, Spain, France, Switzerland, South Africa, Egypt, Belgium, Indonesia, Algeria and Kuwait.

Following the raid, several participants and organizers began filing suits against Israel in France, Greece and the UK, with lawyers citing international jurisdiction as the attack took place in high seas.

The lawyer for Rachel Corrie, the US citizen crushed to death by an Israeli bulldozer as she tried to prevent a Palestinian home from being razed in Gaza, also attended the news conference, IHH wrote. Corrie’s family filed suit against Israel and against the company that manufactured the bulldozer.

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