May 19, 2017
The Law Society of Upper Canada expresses grave concern about the conviction of lawyer Muharrem Erbey in Turkey.
Muharrem Erbey is a human rights lawyer, former Vice-President of the Human Rights Association (IHD) and former Chairperson of IHD Diyarbakır. The Law Society first intervened on his behalf in June 2014, after he was arrested and charged with “being a member of an illegal organization”. The organization in question is the Kurdish Communities Union (KCK), which is alleged to be the “urban branch” of the armed Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK).
It has come to the Law Society’s attention that on March 28, 2017, Muharrem Erbey was convicted of the above-noted charge and sentenced to six years and three months in prison. He has since filed an appeal.
Human rights organizations believe that Muharrem Erbey’s conviction is linked to his activities as a high-profile human rights lawyer and is intended to criminalize peaceful dissent as well as Kurdish political and cultural expression.
The Law Society of Upper Canada urges the Government of Turkey to comply with Turkey’s obligations under international human rights laws, including the United Nations’ Basic Principles on the Role of Lawyers.