July 21, 2019
Mr. Abdulhamit Gül
Minister of Justice
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 Turkey’s own Constitution. 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 numerous other Turkish lawyers. LRWC has also made oral and written statements to the UN Human Rights Council and submissions to the UN Human Rights Council 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.
We have previously written to you regarding Turkish lawyer Eren Keskin, most recently on 5 April 2019. Ms Keskin has been the target of an ongoing campaign of political and judicial harassment, having been charged and convicted on multiple occasions with respect to alleged crimes that would not be considered crimes in any country governed by the rule of law. We understand that Ms. Keskin was most recently sentenced (on 21 May 2019) to a term of imprisonment of 3 years and 9 months in relation to charges of “propaganda on behalf of a terrorist organization” under Article 7(2) of the Anti-Terrorism Law.
LRWC is once again gravely concerned regarding the continuing and unjust persecution of lawyer Eren Keskin. The criminal charges are illegitimate and unfounded. This prison sentence, combined with prior and pending charges, could subject Ms. Keskin to an extremely lengthy prison term that effectively could see Ms. Keskin die in prison.