URGENT APPEAL - THE OBSERVATORY
TUR 001 / 0120 / OBS 002.4
July 9, 2021
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 intervention in the following situation in Turkey.
The Observatory has been informed about the continuing judicial harassment of Eren Keskin, a human rights lawyer and the co-president of the Human Rights Association (İHD). Eren Keskin is the winner of multiple international awards for her peace and human rights work, including the 2018 Helsinki Civil Society Award, and was a finalist of the Martin Ennals Award for Human Rights Defenders in 2019.
On June 28, 2021, Eren Keskin was summoned to the Prosecutor’s Office on Terrorism-Related Crimes for interrogation in relation to the reading of a press statement denouncing the dismissal of the Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP) mayors back in 2019. Ms. Keskin gave her testimony, but the case file remains 'confidential', and is still under the Prosecutor's review; therefore, the charges have not been disclosed yet.
The Observatory recalls that, on February 15, 2021, the İstanbul 23rd Heavy Penal Court sentenced Ms. Keskin to six years and three months in prison for “membership to an illegal armed organisation” (Article 314/2 of the Criminal Code) in the Özgür Gündem trial. Since 2016, Eren Keskin has been facing charges for “disrupting the unity of the state”, “incitement to commit crime”, “membership to a terrorist organisation”, “terrorist propaganda” and “publishing and spreading statements of terrorist organisations” in relation to articles published in the closed newspaper Özgür Gündem, a symbol of Kurdish media. The newspaper was shut down by the Emergency Decree no. 675 on October 29, 2016 over “terrorist propaganda” allegations. Ms. Keskin’s lawyers have appealed the decision and she remains free pending trial.
The Observatory further recalls that Ms. Keskin has been continuously judicially harassed and intimidated for years because of her peaceful human rights activities and exercise of freedom of expression.
The Observatory condemns the ongoing judicial harassment of Eren Keskin and urges the authorities of Turkey to drop all charges against her and to put an end to any act of harassment, including at the judicial level, against her as well as against all human rights defenders in Turkey.
Please write to the authorities of Turkey asking them to:
i. Guarantee in all circumstances the physical integrity and psychological well-being of Eren Keskin, as well as of all human rights defenders in Turkey;
ii. Drop all charges against Eren Keskin and put an end to all forms of harassment, including at the judicial level, against her and all human rights lawyers and defenders in Turkey, and ensure that they are able to carry out their activities without hindrance or fear of reprisals.
• President of the Republic of Turkey, Mr. Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
• Minister of Justice, Mr. Abdülhamit Gül. Email: email@example.com.
• Minister of Interior, Mr. Süleyman Soylu. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com
• Ambassador Mehmet Kemal Bozay, Diplomatic Mission of Turkey to the European Union in Brussels, Belgium. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com
• Ambassador Mr. Sadık Arslan, Permanent Mission of Turkey to the United Nations in Geneva, Switzerland. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Please also write to the diplomatic missions or embassies of Turkey in your respective country.
Paris-Geneva, July 9, 2021
Kindly inform us of any action undertaken quoting the code of this appeal in your reply.
The Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders (the Observatory) was created in 1997 by FIDH and the World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT). The objective of this programme is to intervene to prevent or remedy situations of repression against human rights defenders. FIDH and OMCT are both members of ProtectDefenders.eu, the European Union Human Rights Defenders Mechanism implemented by international civil society.
To contact the Observatory, call the emergency line:
• E-mail: Appeals@fidh-omct.org
• Tel FIDH + 33 1 43 55 25 18
• Tel OMCT + 41 22 809 49 39
 For almost thirty years, Eren Keskin has contributed to the protection of minority rights, countered violence against women, and campaigned to challenge militarism and end torture. She is the founder of a legal office providing pro bono services for transgender persons and women who were raped or sexually abused by the national security forces.
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