Turkey: Judicial harassment and arbitrary detention of human rights lawyer Levent Pişkin

Urgent Appeal

TUR 007 / 1116 / OBS 097
Judicial harassment /
Arbitrary detention
November 15, 2016

The Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders, a partnership of FIDH and the World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT) requests your urgent intervention in the following situation in Turkey.

Description of the situation:

The Observatory has been informed by reliable sources about the judicial harassment and arbitrary detention of Mr. Levent Pişkin, a human rights lawyer member of the Association of Lawyers for Freedom (Ozgurlukcu Hukukcular Dernegi – OHD), LGBTI activist and member of the Justice Commission of the Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) [1].

According to the information received, on November 14, 2016, at 5:30 a.m. the police raided in Levent Pişkin’s appartment, confiscated some of his belongings, including his computer and phone, and arrested him. The Public Prosecution Office ordered his placement in custody and he was transferredto Bursa Detention Centre.

The arrest would be related to his visit to his client, Member of Parliament. Selahattin Demirtaş, HDP co-Chair, detained since November 4, 2016. Some media accused him of conveying Mr. Selahattin Demirtaş’s message to a German Magazine which could be used as propaganda. No formal charges have been brought against him yet.

The day of his arrest, he was supposed to participate in the defense of 46 lawyers facing judicial harassment since 2011 for exercising their profession [2].

Over the past years, Mr. Levent Pişkin has been suffering constant harassment. A bomb exploded in his garden which is apparently related to Turkish nationalists. In March 2014, he was sued by President Erdogan and sentenced by the Istanbul’s 14th Criminal Court to pay 10 thousand liras (around $3,700) in damages for “insult, slander or heavy provocation of a public official for their public service”. He reacted to a speech by Mr. Erdogan, Prime minister at the time, who said that “if Alevilik is about loving Ali, I’m a perfect Alevi”, and tweeted “Waiting for PM to declare, ‘I am a perfect fag’. Obviously I will not learn how to be a fag from you. Kisses.#AnayasadaLGBT [LGBT in the Constitution ]”.

The Observatory draws the attention of the Turkish authorities on the Principle of the United Nations Basic Principles on the Role of Lawyers, in particular Principles 16, 18, and 20 on Guarantees for the functioning of lawyers, and Principle 23 on Freedom of expression and association.

The Observatory calls upon the Turkish authorities to immediately and unconditionally release Levent Pişkin and put an end to the ongoing harassment, including at judicial level, against human rights defenders, and in particular lawyers, since it only seems to aim at sanctioning their legitimate human rights work.

Actions requested:

Please write to the authorities in Turkey, urging them to:

i. Guarantee in all circumstances the physical and psychological integrity of Mr. Levent Pişkin as well as of all human rights defenders in Turkey;

ii. Immediately and unconditionally release Mr. Levent Pişkin, as well as other human rights defenders in Turkey;

iii. Put an end to all forms of harassment, including at judicial level, against Mr. Levent Pişkin, as well as other human rights defenders in Turkey;

iv. Comply with all the provisions of the United Nations Declaration on Human Rights Defenders, in particular with Articles 1, 6(a), 9, 11 and 12.2;

v. Ensure in all circumstances respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms in accordance with international human rights standards and international instruments ratified by Turkey.


· President of Turkey, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, Cumhurbaşkanlığı Külliyesi 06560 Beştepe-Ankara, Tel: (+90 312) 525 55 55, Fax: (+90 312) 525 58 31, E-mail: contact@tccb.gov.tr
· Prime Minister of Turkey, Mr. Binali Yıldırım tel: (0312) 422 10 00 ; Fax: +90 (312) 403 62 82
· Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr. Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu, No: 8 Balgat / Ankara - Turkey 06100; Tel : +90 (312) 292 10 00
· Minister of Justice, Mr. Bekir Bozdağ, 06659 Kizilay, Ankara; Tel: +90 (312) 417 77 70; Fax: +90 (0312) 419 33 70; E-mail: info@adalet.gov.tr
· Minister of Interior, Mr. Süleyman Soylu ; tel: +90 (312) 422 40 00;Fax: +90 (312) 425 61 30;Email: ozelkalem@icisleri.gov.tr
· Ambassador Izzet Selim Yenel, Diplomatic Mission of Turkey to the European Union in Brussels, Avenue des Arts 36-38, 1000 Bruxelles, Belgium; Fax: + 32 2 511 04 50
· Ambassador Mehmet Ferden Çarikçi, Permanent Mission of Turkey to the United Nations in Geneva, Chemin du Petit-Saconnex 28B 1211 Geneva 19, Tel: +41 22 918 50 80; Fax: +41 22 734 08 59; Email: mission.turkey@ties.itu.int

Please also write to the diplomatic mission or embassy of Turkey in your respective country.

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