Trial against Muharrem Erbey, in pre-trial detention for 4 years, resumes on 13 January in Turkey

January 11, 2014

While all attention is focused on the political power struggle in Turkey, human rights defenders there continue to be harassed and detained. A glaring example is the case of Muharrem Erbey who is in pre-trial detention since 4 years. On 13 January 2014, the trial against Muharrem Erbey, the recipient of the Ludovic-Trarieux International Human Rights Prize for 2012, will resume. On 24 December 2009, Mr. Muharrem Erbey was arrested by the Anti-Terror Unit of the Diyarbakır Security Directorate as part of an operation launched simultaneously in 11 provinces in Turkey. His arrest and detention were based on his alleged membership to the Kurdish Communities Union [KCK], an organization said to be the “urban branch” of the armed Kurdistan Workers Party [PKK]. Consequently, he was charged with “being a member of an illegal organisation”, pursuant to Article 314 of the Turkish Criminal Code. Mr. Erbey is facing a minimum sentence of 7,5 to 15 years in prison should he be found guilty. Minutes taken during Mr. Erbey’s interrogation on December 25, 2009 by the prosecution clearly show that the real reasons for his arrest were linked to his legitimate human rights work. According to Mr. Erbey’s lawyers, the charges were mainly based on his participation in a workshop in Diyarbakır in September 2009 on constitutional amendments aimed at ensuring a greater respect for minorities rights, his speeches on Kurdish rights made before parliaments in Belgium, Sweden and the UK, and his attendance to the “Kurdish Film Festival” in Italy in 2009. Additionally, lawyers representing Mr. Erbey were only given access to the criminal file six months after his arrest, in clear breach of his defence rights, as recognised under international law.

FIDH and OMCT, within the framework of the Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders, the Union Internationale des Avocats, the Euro-Mediterranean Human Rights Network, the Human Rights Association İnsan Hakları Derneği and the Human Rights Foundation of Turkey express their grave concern  about him and other human rights lawyers.  [Since 2009, over 8,000 people have been arrested in the context of the KCK investigations].

via Turkey: Four years on, Muharrem Erbey still in pre-trial detention / January 10, 2014 / Urgent Interventions / Human rights defenders / OMCT.

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