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Turkey: Don’t jail Eren Keskin

Eren Keskin has been prosecuted over 100 times for daring to speak out

Lawyer and former newspaper editor Eren Keskin has been a vocal critic of the Turkish state for decades.

A speech she made 11 years ago has angered the authorities. In it, she accused the state of “slaughtering a 12-year-old child”: Uğur Kaymaz. 

To Eren, the 2004 killing of this boy by the army is one of many stains on Turkey’s history – a history she says the authorities need to be held accountable for.

For this and articles published in a Kurdish newspaper she edited, she has been repeatedly charged with insulting the Turkish state and the President.

Eren has been hauled before the courts more than 100 times because of her outspoken stand on the plight of Turkey’s Kurdish minority. In 1995, she spent six months in jail simply for using the word “Kurdistan” in an article. The sheer volume of cases against her are nothing short of harassment.

Eren’s only crime has been to speak out against injustice. And time is running out for her. More trials mean she could be jailed at any time, for a long time.

To Turkey’s Minister of Justice

I call on you to repeal laws in Turkey that stifle people’s right to freedom of expression. Lawyer and former newspaper editor Eren Keskin is a victim of these laws; she must not be imprisoned for speaking out for justice.

In 2014, Eren was convicted of “insulting the Turkish state” because she spoke out against the killing of a 12-year-old boy by the army. She has been brought before the courts more than 100 times because of her outspoken stand on the plight of Turkey’s Kurdish minority. The sheer volume of cases against her is nothing short of harassment.

Eren must not be imprisoned simply for criticizing the state. A truly robust state is one that listens to its critics. Show the world that Turkey is such a state.