Eren Keskin, outspoken human rights lawyer and co-chair of the Human Rights Association (IHD) has been named one of three finalists for the Martin Ennals Award, which recognizes individuals who have “demonstrated a deep commitment to human rights, often working under threat of imprisonment, torture, or worse.” The award is named after former Amnesty International Secretary-General Martin Ennals and the finalists and laureates are chosen by representatives from ten of the world’s leading human rights organizations, including Amnesty International.
The award will be presented next Wednesday, February 13, in Geneva, Switzerland. However, Keskin will not be in attendance. She has been banned from overseas travel by order of the Turkish Prime Minister.
Keskin’s work on behalf of vulnerable communities has made her a target of the Turkish government for years. In 1995, she served time in prison for using the term Kurdistan in an article she wrote for a Turkish Kurdish newspaper. Keskin has 143 legal cases open against her, in 69 of which she has been found guilty. She is appealing these verdicts and currently faces a 12.5 year prison sentence and fines totaling $85,000. Her next court hearing is scheduled for March 28.
“People ask, ‘How do you live? How do you endure it?’” Keskin told the Turkish news site Ahval. “For me, the job we do is a way of life and I have never regretted it.”
In December 2016, Keskin talked to Amnesty about the crackdown on free media in Turkey and how Amnesty’s support has helped her endure years of government persecution.