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Campaign against Impunity

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Medizinische Flüchtlingshilfe Bochum e.V.

Netzwerk gegen Straflosigkeit / Red contra la impunidad / Network against impunity


From Women to Public: Supreme Court of Appeals Reversed the Judgement!

The Women in Solidarity with Eren Keskin Network

With a final court decision dated 22.10.2007, the 9th Penalty Unit of Supreme Court of Appeals decided to reverse the judgement in the case Eren Keskin was tried under Turkish Criminal Code’s Clause 301. This case grounded The Solidarity with Eren Keskin Campaign which is conducted by Women Solidarity Network. Eren Keskin was retried at Kartal 3rd District Criminal Court on 26.12.2007. The second trial will be held on 07.02.2008 at 09:30.
The founder of the Legal Aid Office for the Victims of Sexual Harassment and Rape in Custody, Eren Keskin delivered a speech in 2002 at a conference in Cologne, Germany under the theme “Women’s Rights are Human Rights”. In this speech, she shared incidents of violence originating in action of the state with the public. As a result of this speech, a case was opened by Kartal 3rd District Criminal Court against her with the charge of “insulting the moral character of the military” according to the Turkish Criminal Code’s Clause 301. In March 2006, at the conclusion of the trial, Eren Keskin was sentenced to 10 months imprisonment. The court, however, converted the sentence into a fine of 6000 YTL. Keskin, whose right to free speech has violated, declared that she refuses to buy her freedom. After this declaration, the initiation came together under the name of The Women in Solidarity with Eren Keskin Network conducted a campaign between April andJune2006. The campaign which is available on the net at www.erenkeskinedestek.org protests the court’s verdict and invites all the authorized institutions to take a stance on the side of democracy, freedom of speech and women’s rights. At the end of the campaign over ten thousand petition signatures and 7000 YTL which will provide the sentence fine in case Eren Keskin is put in jail, have been collected.
On March 2007, Eren Keskin held a press conference at Human Rights Association’s Istanbul Branch and thanked to all women’s groups who are in solidarity with her and campaign participants and also she declared that she still refuses to pay this money which is put on her by the court as in remuneration for her freedom. Eren Keskin donated the money that is collected through the campaign, to Mor Çati Women’s Shelter and Istanbul Human’s Rights Association.  
The case against Eren Keskin under Turkish Criminal Code’s Clause 301 has been reversed by the 9th Penalty Unit of Supreme Court of Appeals’ verdict of 2007/7356 dated 22.10.2007. Trial process will restart at Kartal 3rd District Criminal Court on 26. 12. 2007.

This decision of Supreme Court of Appeals is of course, a positive step; however political agenda in our country, unfortunately, prevent us to raise hope in the name of democracy and freedom. First of all, we have to emphasize that the logic of punishing the one who depicts the existence of a crime rather than the persecutor of the crime, still exists. Therefore, by silencing the aggrieved, the politics of conditioning injustice continues. Eren Keskin is still being sued; legal grounds of these cases are texts and speeches of Eren Keskin in which she shares her project works with public. At present, Atty. Eren Keskin has three more cases waiting at Supreme Court of Appeals all of which are opened with the charge of “insulting and deriding state’s security authorities” under Turkish Criminal Code’s 159th article, by Criminal Courts of First Instance of Viransehir, Tunceli and Çerkezköy. For these cases it has been call for 28 months penalty for imprisonment and 8580 YTL corporeal cost in total.
And again Eren Keskin is exposed to threats and verbal assaults; her freedom of speech is violated not only in state institutions but also at civil life. The most recent incident of death threat mail sealed as “seen” sent from Ümraniye Prison depicts the significance of the scene once more.
We, women, see the systematic deterrence and punishment politics against Eren Keskin who articulates the grievance of women suffered violence by state authorities, as shameful. We are asking in those days in which blood market has been reset again and again; the hostility between identities has been urged and cross-border operations have been put on to the agenda again:
What happens to 249 women victimized by war crimes and the men who turned out to be rapists by war conditions?
How many more kinds of war crime we will witness?
How many more people will cry; will be the persecutor of hate crimes?
How many more generations will grow up as intolerant to the other?
How many more children will grow up watching fight-blood-war scenes on TV?
How many more poor people will die because of the completely emptied health budget that is paid to war expenses?
How many more student left without a school?
How many more Ugur Kaymaz will be killed?
How many more Festus Okey will be persecuted at the police station?
How many more Nese Yasin will be the target of fascist assaults subjecting her womanhood.
How many more refugees will lose his/her life in order to make his/her life a much more bearable, that turns out to be an inferno due to war?
How many more transvestites will be the victims of hate crimes?
How many more mother stay awake all night in order to learn what happened to her child either on military service or at the mountain?
How many more Hrant Dink will be killed?
How many more Rakel Dink will get no response for her common sense calls?
How many more Arat Dink will be forced to leave the country?
How many more Mehmet Tarhan will be abandoned to civil torture through banishment of social and political rights?
How many more people will cry for their children, beloveds, brothers, sisters, friends, relatives who lost their lives under conflict conditions?

Unquestioned darkness hurts our hearts.
It’s enough!
Let’s put our hands to our conscience and repeat:
There is no color, nation, sexuality of tear and pain!

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Information from the network

 Newsletter August 2007 


World Coalition Against Torturers (WCAT)

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Manfred Nowak
UN Special Rapporteur on Torture