Turkey: Muharrem Erbey released

English PEN is delighted that writer, human rights lawyer and PEN Turkey member Muharrem Erbey has finally been released. Erbey had been held in pre-trial detention since his arrest in December 2009

Muharrem Erbey was among scores of lawyers, politicians, writers, journalists, publishers, trade unionists and academics detained as part of a wide-reaching anti-terror probe into pro-Kurdish intellectuals, political activists and civil society organisations in Turkey described as the Kurdistan Communities Union (KCK). He was finally released pending trial  on 12 April 2014, having spent four and a half years in pre-trial detention.

In a conversation with PEN International shortly after his release, Muharrem Erbey said:

Speaking as a lawyer, I don’t understand the legal grounds for either my arrest or my release. The decision to release me was made under very unusual circumstances ahead of my scheduled hearing on 14 April [2014]. As these are political trials, decisions seem to be taken according to the political climate at the time.

Erbey also thanked the PEN community for their continued support throughout his time in detention:

I would like to express my deepest thanks to all the PEN members who sent me letters and postcards. I received messages from around the world, including countries like Ghana, Mexico, Canada and the UK. Those messages were tremendously important to me; they were what kept me going. I am starting an English language course to continue my correspondence with those who wrote to me now that I’ve been released.

PEN warmly welcomes the news of his release and thanks all our members for their support and for tirelessly campaigning for Muharrem Erbey in recent years.

However, we also continue to call on Turkish authorities to immediately and unconditionally drop all charges against Muharrem Erbey and to fully meet its obligations to protect the right to freedom of expression as laid out in the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms, to which it is a state party.

TAKE ACTION

Send letters of appeal

  • Welcoming the release pending trial of writer and lawyer Muharrem Erbey;
  • Calling for all charges against him to be dropped;
  • Referring to concerns that Muharrem Erbey is being prosecuted on charges that contravene his right to freedom of expression and association, as guaranteed by the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the European Convention on Human and Democratic Rights, to which Turkey is a signatory.

Appeals to

Mr Bekir Bozdağ
Minister of Justice
06669 Kizilay
Ankara
Turkey
Fax: 00 90 312 419 3370Email: info@adalet.gov.tr

His Excellency Mr. Ünal Çeviköz
43 Belgrave Square
London
SW1X 8PA
Fax020 7393 9213
Email: embassy.london@mfa.gov.tr

Or you could use the form below.  A sample letter is provided but it is always better if you put the appeal in your own words.

[ecampaign ‘to=embassy.london@mfa.gov.tr‘ subject=”Drop all charges against Muharrem Erbey”]

Your Excellency

I am writing to you as a supporter of English PEN, the founding centre of the international association of writers, to welcome the long-overdue release of our colleague Muharrem Erbey.

According to PEN’s information, writer, human rights lawyer, and PEN Turkey member Muharrem Erbey was arrested in Diyarbakır, south eastern Turkey in December 2009. He was finally released pending trial  on 12 April 2014, having spent four and a half years in pre-trial detention.

Muharrem Erbey has worked for many years as a highly respected human rights lawyer and advocate in the southeast of Turkey, compiling reports on disappearances and extra-judicial killings in the region, and representing local individuals in provincial, national and international courts, including the European Court of Human Rights. In 2008, Erbey became Vice President of the İnsan Hakları Derneği (IHD), one of Turkey’s most reputable human rights associations, having served as President of the Diyarbakır branch for many years.

In addition to his work as a human rights lawyer and advocate, Erbey is also a published writer, editor and columnist, and has written numerous articles on culture and human rights for a wide range of magazines, newspapers and websites. He is a member of English PEN’s sister centre, PEN Turkey, and the Kurdish Writers’ Association.

Whilst I warmly welcome his release pending trial, I also continue to call on Turkish authorities to immediately and unconditionally drop all charges against Muharrem Erbey and to fully meet its obligations to protect the right to freedom of expression as laid out in the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms, to which it is a state party.

I would welcome your comments on my appeal.

Yours sincerely

[/ecampaign]

About Cat Lucas

Cat Lucas is English PEN's Writers at Risk Programme Manager

View all posts by Cat Lucas →

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