10 May 2018

Human rights lawyer facing life sentence in Turkey

Human rights lawyer Eren Keskin went to court in Turkey on Monday. The prosecutor is seeking a prison term on charges of "conducting propaganda for a terrorist organization."

Ans Boersma
Ans Boersma NewsMavens, Turkey
Source: Platform 24
Human rights lawyer
facing life sentence in Turkey - NewsMavens
Eren Kersin. HERMANN J. KNIPPERTZ. East News/Associated Press

Why this story matters:

Having worked on human rights issues for almost thirty years, Keskin has contributed to the protection of minority rights, countered violence against women, and campaigned to challenge militarism and end torture.

Over 120 cases have been lodged against her in Turkish courts.

The current court case is related to the period when Eren Keskin held the title of editor-in-chief for Özgür Gündem newspaper. She held this position from 2013 to 2016. Özgür Gündem is known for its extensive reporting on the Kurdish-Turkish conflict and is critical in reporting on the Turkish government.

Keskin is also one of nine defendants in another ongoing prosecution, which includes terrorism-related offences. The other defendants include advisory board members, journalists and the editorial director of Özgür Gündem, For this case, she can be sentenced up to 24 years in prison. 

Keskin told the court that she wouldn’t leave Turkey no matter what the decision is. “I want this to be put on the record: I will not go abroad. Turkey must change these laws.”

The court cases against her didn’t attract a lot of national and international media coverage, but taking into account the severity of the punishment and the controversial issues Keskin is working on, maybe they should have.

Details from the story:

  • Eren Keskin and her lawyer requested more time for the final defense. The court postponed the trial and set the next hearing for July 9, 2018.
  • This is not the only trial against Kerskin. She has already been sentenced to 12 years in prison and a 450,000 Turkish lira fine
  • Different human rights and press freedom organizations are now calling for international action to prevent a life sentence for the human rights lawyer.
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