The Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders, a partnership of FIDH and the World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT), has received new information and requests your urgent intervention in the following situation in Turkey.
The Observatory has been informed by reliable sources about the provisional release of Mr. Levent Pişkin, a human rights lawyer member of the Association of Lawyers for Freedom (Ozgurlukcu Hukukcular Dernegi – OHD), Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, transexual and intersex (LGBTI) rights activist and member of the Justice Commission of the Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) .
According to the information received, on November 16, 2016, Mr. Levent Pişkin was provisionally released pending the end of the investigation, after two days of detention. At the time of the urgent appeal, no formal charges have been yet brought against him.
The Observatory welcomes the provisional release of Mr. Levent Pişkin but deplores the ongoing judicial harassment against him, as well as against human rights defenders in Turkey.
The Observatory calls upon the Turkish authorities to put an end to the judicial proceedings against him and all other human rights defenders, in particular lawyers, since it only seems to aim at sanctioning legitimate human rights work.
Over the past years, Mr. Levent Pişkin has been suffering constant harassment. 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 ]”.
In 2016, a bomb, allegedly planted by nationalists exploded in his garden. On November 14, 2016, at 5:30 a.m. the police raided in Levent Pişkin’s apartment, 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 transferred to 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.
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 .
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.
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. Drop any charges against Mr. Levent Pişkin as well as against all the human rights lawyers 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; Fax: (+90 312) 525 58 31; E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
· Prime Minister of Turkey, Mr. Binali Yıldırım; Fax: +90 (312) 403 62 82
· Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr. Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu; Tel : +90 (312) 292 10 00
· Minister of Justice, Mr. Bekir Bozdağ; Fax: +90 (0312) 419 33 70; E-mail: email@example.com
· Minister of Interior, Mr. Süleyman Soylu; Fax: +90 (312) 425 61 30;Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
· 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: email@example.com
Please also write to the diplomatic mission or embassy of Turkey in your respective country.