Turkey: Conviction of human rights lawyer Muharrem Erbey
URGENT APPEAL - THE OBSERVATORY
TUR 002 / 0417 / OBS 042
Judicial harassment / Sentencing
April 14, 2017
The Observatory for the Protection of Human
Rights Defenders, a partnership of FIDH and the World Organisation Against
Torture (OMCT), has received new information and requests your urgent
intervention in the following situation in Turkey.
Observatory has been informed by reliable sources about the conviction of Mr. Muharrem
Erbey, human rights lawyer, former Vice-President of the Human Rights
Association (IHD) and former Chairperson of IHD Diyarbakır.
to the information received, on March 28, 2017, the Diyarbakir Heavy Penal
Court sentenced Mr. Muharrem Erbey to six years and three months in prison
after being convicted of “being a member of an illegal organisation” pursuant
to Article 314/2 of the Criminal Code. On the same trial, the Diyarbakir Heavy
Penal Court further condemned 111 Kurdish figures to imprisonment and acquitted
other 43. A few days after the sentencing, Mr. Erbey's lawyers filed an appeal
with the Court of Cassation. Mr. Erbey is amongst the other 174 figures that
were being prosecuted for alleged membership to the Kurdish Communities Union
The Observatory expresses
its deepest concern as the conviction of Mr. Erbey appears to be linked to his
human rights activities as a high-profile human rights lawyer (see background
information). Therefore, the Observatory urges the Turkish authorities to put
an end to all forms of harassment, including at the judicial level, against Mr.
The Observatory more
generally urges the authorities of Turkey to refrain from further harassing human rights
defenders, and to ensure they are able to carry out their work
without hindrance or fear of reprisals. It also calls on the Turkish
authorities to conform to the United Nations Declaration on Human Rights
Defenders, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and other international
and European human rights instruments ratified by Turkey.
On December 24, 2009, Mr.
Erbey was arrested as part of mass counter-terrorism operations that in fact
have little to do with countering terrorism, but rather have been used as a
means of criminalising peaceful dissent and Kurdish political and cultural
expression. His arrest was based on his alleged membership to the KCK, an
organisation said to be the “urban branch” of the armed Kurdistan Workers Party
(PKK). He was charged with “being a member of an illegal organisation”,
pursuant to Article 314 of the Turkish Criminal Code.
Mr. Erbey is amongst the 154 people prosecuted under the “KCK trials”,
which have been ongoing since April 2009. On April 12, 2014, the Diyarbakir
Heavy Penal Court No. 2 decided for the provisional release of Mr. Erbey due to
a lack of evidence, after he had been for more than four years in pre-trial
Please write to the authorities in Turkey,
urging them to:
i. Guarantee in all circumstances the physical
and psychological integrity of Mr. Muharrem
Erbey as well
as of all human rights defenders in Turkey;
ii. Put an end to all forms of harassment,
including at judicial level, against Mr.
as well as all human rights defenders in Turkey;
iii. Comply with all the provisions of the
United Nations Declaration on Human Rights Defenders, in particular with its
Article 1, 2, 5 and 12.2;
iv. Ensure in all circumstances respect for
human rights and fundamental freedoms in accordance with international human
rights standards and international instruments ratified by Turkey.
· President of Turkey, Mr.
Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, Fax: (+90 312) 525 58 31, E-mail: email@example.com
· Prime Minister of
Turkey, Mr. Binali Yıldırım; Fax: +90 (312) 403
· Minister of Justice, Mr. Bekir Bozdağ, Fax: +90 (0312) 419 33 70;
· Minister of Interior, Mr. Süleyman Soylu; Fax: +90 (312) 425 61
· Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr. Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu, Ministry of
Foreign Affairs, Twitter account: @MFATurkey
· Ambassador Izzet Selim Yenel, Diplomatic Mission of Turkey to the
European Union in Brussels, Fax: + 32 2 511 04 50, Email:
· H.E. Ambassador Mr. Ali Naci Koru, Permanent Mission of Turkey to
the United Nations in Geneva, Fax: +41 22 734 08 59; Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Please also write to the diplomatic mission or embassy of Turkey
in your respective country.
Paris-Geneva, April 14, 2017
Kindly inform us
of any action undertaken quoting the code of this appeal in your reply.
for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders (the Observatory) was created in 1997
by FIDH and the World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT). The objective of
this programme is to intervene to prevent or remedy situations of repression
against human rights defenders. FIDH and OMCT are both members of ProtectDefenders.eu, the European
Union Human Rights Defenders Mechanism implemented by international civil
To contact the
Observatory, call the emergency line:
· E-mail: Appeals@fidh-omct.org
· Tel and fax FIDH + 33 (0) 1 43 55 25 18 / +33 1 43 55 18 80
· Tel and fax OMCT + 41 (0) 22 809 49 39 / + 41 22 809 49 29