The Vigdis Freedom Foundation is currently working with human rights lawyer Eren Keskin, of Turkey, who has been a target in the Turkish government’s efforts to silence any social or political opposition.
Eren has dedicated her life to fighting for the right to freedom of expression in Turkey, as well as dedicating herself as an ally for women survivors of sexual abuse. Eren has been a force for peace and justice in Turkey, which was officially acknowledged in 2004 when she was awarded the Aachen Peace Prize for “her courageous efforts and activities for human rights.”
The Vigdis Foundation will soon launch our fundraising campaign for Eren Keskin. Our campaign will be using the CrowdJustice platform for crowdfunding and will go live this week. The official launch will be announced on Facebook and Twitter. We ask all those who can to please make a contribution and to share the campaign as widely and boldly as possible to stand in solidarity with and support Eren Keskin and human rights in Turkey.
Below is an approved statement from Eren Keskin that we will be using for our campaign. Please feel free to borrow at will from the text to share her story and the critical necessity to help keep her active in her work.
For more information on our work with Eren and Aysenur Parildak, another journalist who is currently in arbitrary detention, please continue scrolling past the text for the campaign.
Thank you for your support and courage to stand with us against Turkish repression of the right to freedom of expression.
Text for campaign:
I am a human rights lawyer. I was a co-editor in chief as a figurehead of the newspaper Özgür Gündem. I have fought all my life for human rights and freedom of expression in Turkey. Since the failed coup last year, I have been considered as an “enemy of the state”. Right now, I’m facing prosecution in 143 cases, mostly related to freedom of expression. Özgür Gündem was a legal nation-wide newspaper that has been shut down. I now spend days in court, defending myself against the 143 charges while also defending my clients, many of whom don’t have the means to pay me. I’m stretched thin and cannot afford to continue this battle, so I need your help.
During the past 20 years I have litigated over five hundred cases against the Turkish government on behalf of women who have been raped or sexually abused in Turkish jails, under custody, and during street demonstrations. I discovered the extent of this abuse in Turkish prisons when I served a six-month sentence in 1995. Since then, I have focused on abuse of power by State officials. My work is supported by the United Nations’ Fund for Victims of Torture. While in prison, Amnesty International supported me as a prisoner of conscience.
I love where I live. I want the Turkish Republic to respect fundamental human rights. I want to make a difference. I want to defend human rights in Turkey, because I want Turkey to be the best it can be. I know this fight is difficult and dangerous, but the people of Turkey need me to stand up for them. Only some of my clients can pay for the services that I provide them. By donating and helping me, you will make it possible for me to continue my work. No donation is too small. Every bit creates hope, which is sometimes the difference between life and death.
Can You Help Support Eren?
Eren’s fight is for justice. For her and for everyone exposed to human rights violation in Turkey.
Amnesty International’s interview with Eren
What Else Can You Do?
Please share this page on Facebook using the link on the top right of the page and also to Twitter, LinkedIn, or Instagram and tell your friends, family, and followers about your generous contribution to this important cause.
You can find us on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/vigdisfreedomfoundation/. #JournalismIsNotACrime #GazetecilikSucDegildir
If you’re not able to make a donation now, you can also send a solidarity card to Eren. Follow the link for more information on how to do so. https://www.amnesty.org.uk/files/w4r2016_tier_1_case_sheet_turkey_0.pdf
If you would like further information about this case or how to get involved with the Vigdis Freedom Foundation, please contact [email protected]
Together we are strong. Thank you for your support and for helping make this campaign a success.
Our work with Eren:
Members of the Vigdis Freedom Foundation travelled on two occasions to Istanbul to attend hearings in ongoing cases against Eren Keskin for her affiliation and work with Özgür Gündem, a nation-wide newspaper in Turkey that has been shut down after the failed coup.
Eren Keskin has approximately 143 cases against her related to her role as a symbolic co-editor for Özgür Gündem.
On 8 December 2016 there were two hearings in Istanbul; one in the Heavy Penal Court and one in the Simple Penal Court. No decisions were rendered and a new hearing is scheduled for 16 February.
On 29 December 2016 the hearing was held in the Assize Court in Istanbul, and it was a joint hearing with nine other defendants Aslı Erdoğan, Necmiye Alpay, Inan Kizilkaya, Bilir Kaya, Filiz Kocali, Ragip Zarakolu, Bilge Contepe, Bilge Aykut and Kemal Sancil.
Please click to read the trial reports.
8 December 2016
29 December 2016
On the 29 December the tribunal started the hearing of the case against Aslı Erdoğan, Necmiye Alpay, Eren Keskin, Inan Kizilkaya, Bilir Kaya, Filiz Kocali, Ragip Zarakolu, Bilge Contepe, Bilge Aykut and Kemal Sancil. The police only brought Aslı Erdoğan and Necmiye Alpay from prison; and this was explained by the fact that the police did not have capacity to bring the others.
The courtroom selected for the trial had a maximum capacity of 30 observers, which created an issue as many people –international observers, diplomats, and members of the press—were unable to witness any or all of the trial. However, while most members of the press who came to observe the trial were unable to make it through the security point, Anne Christine, was able to make her way through the large and pushy crowds and into the courtroom where she was able to witness the entirety of the trial.Many lawyers were present in order to show their solidarity with the defendants. There were several protests against the fact that each of the defendants were only allowed to be represented by 3 lawyers.
In the courtroom, Anne Christine witnessed the statements made by Aslı Erdoğan, Necmiye Alpay, and Eren Keskin. During these statements, it was reiterated that these women have been symbolic editors of the Özgür Gündem newspaper, and as such, they should not be personally held responsible for the words written and published in the newspaper. Erdoğan argued that of all the things she has written over the years, she is being accused of being a member of a terrorist organization based on only a few sentences.
The tribunal decided to release from arrest Aslı Erdoğan and Necmiye Alpay who had been imprisoned since September 2016. The decision in the main case will be rendered when the tribunal have heard.