Last month marked four years since the arrest of human rights lawyer, writer and PEN Turkey member Muharrem Erbey. The next hearing of his trial is scheduled to start on 13 January 2014
Muharrem Erbey is one of 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. He was among 80 people across the region to be arrested in connection with the Koma Civakên Kurdistan (KCK) (Union of Communities in Kurdistan), the alleged political front for the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK). According to reports, members of the Anti-Terror Unit of the Diyarbakır Security Directorate took Erbey from his home in the early hours of 24 December 2009.
Erbey has since been charged under Article 314/2 of the Turkish Penal Code (‘membership of an armed organisation’). He continues to be held in Diyarbakır D Type Prison awaiting the conclusion of his trial.
PEN is gravely concerned that the charges against Muharrem Erbey are politically motivated, and that he is being held because of his alleged affiliation with Kurdish political parties. We are therefore calling for his immediate and unconditional release from prison, in accordance with 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.
For further information on Muharrem Erbey’s case, please click here.
There are a number of actions that PEN members can take:
- Write to your country’s Turkish ambassador calling for Muharrem Erbey’s immediate and unconditional release;
- Raise Muharrem Erbey’s case with your Member of European Parliament (MEP);
- Write letters and postcards of support to Muharrem Erbey in prison. Such correspondence can provide an important psychological lift and has been greatly appreciated by Muharrem Erbey in the past;
- Write blog pieces about Muharrem Erbey’s case and share these on social media, particularly around the date of his next trial session (13 January 2014);
- Write articles and letters that will raise awareness of Muharrem Erbey’s case in your local and national media.
Muharrem Erbey’s Prison Address
Diyarbakır D Tipi Yüksek Güvenlikli Kapalı Ceza İnfaz Kurumu
His Excellency Mr. Ünal Çeviköz
43 Belgrave Square
Fax: 020 7393 9213
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 ‘email@example.com‘ subject=”Release Muharrem Erbey”]
I am writing to you as a supporter of English PEN, the founding centre of the international association of writers, to strongly protest the ongoing detention 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. Four years later, he remains in prison awaiting the conclusion of his trial.
I share English PEN’s serious concerns that the charges against Muharrem Erbey are politically motivated, and that he is being held because of his alleged affiliation with Kurdish political parties. I am therefore calling for his immediate and unconditional release from prison, and for all the charges against him to be dropped, in accordance with 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.
I would welcome your comments on my appeal.
Please let us know of any action you take, and of any responses you receive from officials or from Muharrem Erbey himself by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org