Letter from Muharrem Erbey, written from prison, November 15, 2012. Read by Eugene Schoulgin at the Day of the Imprisoned Writer, Istanbul

Dear Friends,

I send you my heart’s warmth from behind the iron doors and bars and damp, cold, wet walls of prison. I sincerely thank PEN International, which has supported me for these past three years.

As a human rights advocate, lawyer and writer for 12 years I have worked for the Human Rights Association, compiling reports on human rights violations in Diyarbakir and the region. The Human Rights Association has always been on the side of the oppressed everywhere and in every setting. I have been incarcerated for the last three years under the charge of ‘slandering the state’s military and police’ 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. And then, for making my deposition in Kurdish, have not been released.

Childhood is where our dreams originate. Every remembrance of beautiful things is either wrapped in a dream or in childhood memories. I wanted to expand the world of my childhood where everyone was equal. I dedicated the 17th Ludovic Trarieux 2012 International Human Rights Award I received to all those who pursue their childhood dreams. Unfortunately, I am not able to attend the award ceremony on November 30 on account of my heavy workload.

Heavy and dark clouds roam over Turkey. These clouds can only be dispelled when we agree to coexist, empowered by our differences and not by hatred. Unhappiness is the basis for all the personal and social transformation and change. We the Kurds, the others, those who have different ideas are not happy in turkey. We the others and the unhappy, we demand more democracy, we demand more change. Here in prison I stumble upon tales of those who want this transformation. Friends of this land and of the globe stop the hunger strikes before deaths occur. Deaths should end. No one should become their identity or ideas become the other, or unhappy.

With hopes of seeing you in a Turkey that is free.

Muharrem Erbey.

Lawyer, IHD Vice President, Writer, PEN member.

High Security Type D Prison, Diyarbekir, Turkey.