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Human rights advocate Eren Keskin gets 10 month jail sentence

Eren Keskin (R) at a Barış Anneleri (
Eren Keskin (R) at a Barış Anneleri ("Peace Mothers") demonstration

Saban Dayanan

This statement was originally published on on 22 January 2015.

The 1st court of assize in Çerkezköy has sentenced human rights advocate Eren Keskin to 10 months in prison, under Article 301 of the penal code, for saying, “The [Turkish] state has the brutal mentality to massacre a 12 year old child. Turkey must account…Turkey's history is dirty”, referring to the death of Uğur Kaymaz in the southeastern province of Mardin.

On November 4, 2011, the Justice Ministry allowed an investigation into Eren Keskin, who testified in June 2014.

Similar sentences have been issued for hundreds of human rights activists, journalists and intellectuals in Turkey, including Hrant Dink.

Prison if approved
While the case was initially launched in December 19, 2011, it was concluded on December 12, 2014.

According to Radikal newspaper, the court didn't suspend the announcement of verdict or its suspension or whether it would commute the sentence into a fine, due to the “conviction about Keskin's previous acts and her determination to repeat the crime again”. Convicted under Article 301 after a long time in Turkey, she will face prison if it is approved by Court of Cessation.

“Nobody can insult states, institutions and persons when expressing their opinion,” the verdict said. It was also added that Keskin did not receive the minimum sentence, considering “the defendant's aims and intensity of her purpose”.

“Sentence was issued on the basis of revenge”
Claiming that she had no criminal record, Keskin said that the sentence was issued on the basis of revenge.

“The term 'determination to repeat the crime again' is used for severe criminal cases. I am a human rights activist, I am an advocate. I was always tried due to my thoughts. The issuing of this sentence is meaningful after the government's claims that 'nobody is serving time in prison for their thoughts'. There is nothing new in Turkey,” she said.


Journalist-writer Temel Demirer was also tried under Article 301 for saying “Hrant Dink wasn't killed for being an Armenian but for recognizing the [Armenian] genocide". His request for the suspension of Article 301 in an administrative court was also suspended.

The European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) found that Turkey violated freedom of expression in the case of Prof. Dr. Taner Akçam, by using Article 301 without ministry approval.

Turkey's Constitutional Court, on the other hand, ruled that it would not review the case for 10 years as it rejected the suspension of Article 301 on October 4, 2013. The court also rejected the suspension request in 2009.

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