Human Rights and Protection of Lawyers

The lawyer, Muharrem Erbey, released after 1.570 days of remand in custody

The UIA is pleased to note the announcement about the release of the Turkish lawyer, Mr. Muharrem Erbey, Vice-President of the Diyarbakir Chapter of the Human Rights Association (IHD) and winner of the 2012 International Ludovic Trarieux Human Rights Prize.

His release was announced at the end of a preliminary hearing held by the 2nd Criminal High Court of Diyarbakir on April 12, 2014 concerning the continued detention of the persons accused in the so-called KCK (Koma Komalên Kurdistan) trial. 48 people, including Mr. Erbey, were informed that they would be released.

Mr. Muharrem Erbey was detained on December 24, 2009 for “membership of an illegal organisation” and because of his alleged links with the Kurdish Communities’ Union (KCK). However, it has emerged from the minutes drafted by the Prosecutor during his cross-examination on December 25, 2009 that he was detained because of his activities in favour of the defence of human rights, which had been conducted legally.

Ever since his detention, the UIA has denounced Mr. Erbey’s long and arbitrary remand in custody on several occasions and demanded his immediate and unconditional release from the Turkish authorities.

It should be noted that the Special Courts established in Turkey to judge crimes of terrorism and the violation of the constitutional order were permanently abolished in March 2014. The cases that they were dealing with have now been transferred to the Criminal Courts.

Since March, dozens of people, including at least 10 lawyers working for the defence of persons involved in politically sensitive cases were released. However, the charges brought against them remain unchanged and the trials are supposed to continue.

The UIA will continue to closely monitor the proceedings against Mr. Erbey as well as other lawyers being prosecuted in Turkey for activities directly related to the defence of their clients.

It shall continue to demonstrate its support and calls upon all lawyers’ organisations to do the same.