OSCE Representative Urges Turkey to Drop Charges against Editor and Human Rights Lawyer Eren Keskin and Other Özgür Gündem Journalists

VIENNA, 7 May 2018 – Following today’s two court hearings against editor and human rights lawyer Eren Keskin as well as several journalists of the now closed Kurdish daily Özgür Gündem, OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media Harlem Désir expressed deep concerns about the immense pressure exercised on the defendants.

“The extent of punishment asked by the prosecution against Eren Keskin is staggering. Showing support and solidarity for muzzled voices should not be punished. I call on Turkey to drop the charges against Eren Keskin, a prominent human rights defender, and her fellow defendants,” Désir said.

Human rights lawyer Keskin and several journalists of the daily are accused of terrorism charges and could face many years in prison if convicted.

Désir recalled that over 120 lawsuits have been launched against Keskin, who served as editor-in-chief of Özgür Gündem between 2013 and 2016. She also faces high monetary fines, her work as a lawyer is under threat, and she is under a travel ban.   

“I also repeat my call towards Turkey to engage in a fundamental reform of the laws that criminalize journalistic work, including the Press Law, provisions of the Criminal Code and the Anti-Terror Law,” Désir said. 

The OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media observes media developments in all 57 OSCE participating States. He provides early warning on violations of freedom of expression and media freedom and promotes full compliance with OSCE media freedom commitments. Learn more at www.osce.org/fom, Twitter: @OSCE_RFoM and on www.facebook.com/osce.rfom.