Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Freedoom for Lawyer Muharrem Erbey!

Lawyer Muharrem Erbey, Vice President and Diyarbakýr Branch President of Human Rights Association (IHD), was detained on early hours of the morning of 24 December 2009 in Diyarbakýr and was arrested on the midnight of 26 December 2009 by the Diyarbakýr Special Heavy Penal Court. To participate to the Constitution Workshop in Diyarbakýr, to give a speech regarding to the Kurdish Issue in the parliaments of Belgium, Sweden and England, to participate to “Kurdish Film Festival” in Italy and to become a legal adviser of Osman Baydemir (the Mayor of Diyarbakir) are some of the accusations against Muharrem Erbey. These events were describes as illegal activities and Mr. Erbey was accused being “a member of an illegal organisation”.
Following the detention of Muharrem Erbey, the police raided the Diyarbakýr Branch of Human Rights Association in the hope of finding “more evidences”. Besides the unlawful raid, the search and confiscation in our branch, which had not any relation with the related investigation, were a scandal in terms of law. The Diyarbakir Branch of IHD had not been raided even during the years of state of emergency. The accusations against Muharrem Erbey are the activities of a human rights defender. In this way, The United Nations of the Declaration on Human Rights Defenders was violated frankly.

Right to freedom of expression and association was violated once again with the arrest of Muharrem Erbey. With this imprisonment, the rule-of-law principle and Lawyer of Muharrem Erbey’s right to be tried without arrest were violated.

A human rights defender was accused of being “the international affairs officer of an illegal organisation” because of his speeches on Kurdish Issue, which is the most important problem in Turkey, in the parliaments of Belgium, Italy and England. These countries are the members of European Union, for which Turkey negotiate for full membership. Thus, these countries should question the attitude of Turkey. Human rights is a universal concept. It should be expressed in everywhere. European Union and the related countries should not be just an onlooker to this situation.

The ongoing imprisonment of Lawyer Filiz Kalayci (board member of the Human Rights Association) in 2009, the imprisonment Ms. Yuksel Mutlu (a member of the Honorary Board of the Human Rights Association ) for six months in 2009, the penalties of imprisonment and fines against Ethem Açýkalýn (Former President of Adana Branch of Human Rights Association) in 2009 and the investigations and cases against the other members and executives of IHD were the indicators of pressure on the human rights defenders in Turkey. All the activities of human rights defenders are within the frame of freedom of expression and freedom of association. According to the United Nations of the Declaration on Human Rights Defenders, the government should protect the human rights defenders. However, the ongoing investigations and cases against them indicate that there are serious violations in this area.

We request the immediate release of Muharrem Erbey.