In December 2009, human rights lawyer, writer and PEN Turkey member Muharrem Erbey was arrested in Diyarbakır, south eastern Turkey. More than three and a half years later, he remains in prison awaiting trial – which have hearings on 16 September – 20 October 2013.
In a letter to PEN to mark the Day of the Imprisoned Writer (15 November 2012) Erbey explained his detention thus:
I have been incarcerated for the last three years… because of the speeches I have made on human rights and the peaceful resolution of the Kurdish issue at parliaments in Britain, Sweden, Belgium and at the UN in Geneva. My speeches and comments never contained words of violence.
For more info: http://www.englishpen.org/turkey-focus-2013-muharrem-erbey/
Petition for Ayse Berktay
On 30 April, prominent translator and cultural and women’s rights activist Ayşe Berktay won the 2013 PEN/Barbara Goldsmith Freedom to Write Award. But she was not there in New York to accept the award. Instead, she is currently in jail in Turkey, awaiting the next hearing of her trial, which opens 9 September and will take 10 days. She could face up to 15 years in prison if convicted.
Police arrested Berktay on 3 October 2011, and she was eventually charged under the Anti-Terror Law with “membership of an illegal organisation” for allegedly “planning to stage demonstrations aimed at destabilising the state, plotting to encourage women to throw themselves under police vehicles so as to create a furor, and attending meetings outside Turkey on behalf of the Kurdistan Communities Union (KCK),” a banned pro-Kurdish party.
Anti-terrorism legislation has long been used by the authorities to justify the jailing of writers, publishers, journalists, academics, and politicians in Turkey. In November 2012, a PEN International delegation visited Ankara to express concern about the alarming rise in prosecutions of writers and journalists in the last two years, noting that more than 70 writers and journalists are currently in prison, and at least 60 other writers, publishers, and journalists are on trial.
For more info and petition:http://ifex.org/turkey/2013/05/06/free_ayse_petition/