Bärbel Kofler, Federal Government Commissioner for Human Rights Policy and Humanitarian Aid at the Federal Foreign Office, issued the following statement today (22 February) on the over 130 criminal proceedings currently pending against renowned lawyer and human rights activist Eren Keskin before Turkish courts:
Eren Keskin, an outstanding representative of Turkish civil society, is at imminent risk of imprisonment. I am outraged that attempts are being made to silence this important and courageous voice with a flood of criminal proceedings.
Trials such as this as well as the one against Honorary Chair of Amnesty International’s Turkey section Taner Kiliç have an impact that is felt far beyond the respective individual case. Such actions help to intimidate critical civil society in a particularly strong way.
I therefore call on the Turkish judiciary to grant Ms Keskin and all other human rights activists concerned a fair trial in accordance with the rule of law – in keeping with Turkey’s international obligations.
Human rights lawyer Eren Keskin, founding member and long-serving president of the Human Rights Association in Turkey (IHD), served as editor-in-chief of the “Özgür Gündem” newspaper from 2013 to 2016. She assumed this role as a symbolic gesture and to show solidarity with the pro-Kurdish newspaper on which pressure was being exerted. Keskin is being investigated in over 130 proceedings in connection with this activity.
According to her lawyer, she is facing over 50 proceedings pending at first instance. Some 75 proceedings have been decided at first instance and are pending before various courts of appeal. In the event of a binding conviction by an appeal court, Keskin faces prison sentences of up to 12 years and six months.