April 5, 2019
Re: International law obligations to release lawyer Eren Keskin
We write on behalf of Lawyers’ Rights Watch Canada (LRWC), a committee of lawyers and human rights defenders who promote international human rights, the independence and security of human rights defenders, the integrity of legal systems and the rule of law through advocacy, education and legal research. LRWC has Special Consultative Status with the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations.
LRWC has written in the past with respect to various Turkish lawyers and human rights defenders who have been detained, arrested, charged, and/or imprisoned in violation of Turkey’s international human rights law obligations and of the Constitution of the Republic of Turkey. Communications to the Government of Turkey have been made by LRWC regarding the cases of: Selçuk Kozağaçlı, Şebnem Korur Fincancı, Ramazan Demir, Erin Keskin, Mustafa Aydin, Can Tombul, Taner Kilic and other members of the Turkish legal profession. LRWC has also made oral and written statements to the UN Human Rights Council and submissions to the UN Human Rights Committee and Special Procedures regarding widespread persecution of lawyers, journalists and other human rights defenders through wrongful prosecutions and convictions, arbitrary detention and other grave rights violations.
LRWC is once again gravely concerned regarding the continuing and unjust persecution of lawyer Eren Keskin. Ms. Keskin has been convicted on criminal charges that are illegitimate and unfounded and faces numerous other charges that are equally baseless but could result in lengthy consecutive prison sentences that could keep Ms. Keskin incarcerated for life.
Background of Ms. Keskin
Ms. Keskin, 59 years of age, is a lawyer and vice-president of the Human Rights Association in Turkey (İHD) and the co-founder of the Legal Aid For Women Who Were Raped Or Otherwise Sexually Abused by National Security Forces. She has been a strong advocate for fundamental rights and freedoms in Turkey, especially for the Kurds, women and the LGBTQ community. As a human rights advocate for almost thirty years, Ms Keskin has contributed to the protection of minority rights, countered violence against women, campaigned to end torture and challenged militarism.
Ms. Keskin is an internationally recognized human rights defender.
N.B.: Eren Keskin stands trial, yet again, on April 10, 2019.