Guilty -Oops Not Guilty, Who Knows, Say Turkish Courts

A Turkish lawyer and human rights campaigner who was charged with insulting the military under the notorious Article 301 which makes it a crime to insult “Turkishnes” was found guilty and not guilty by two separate courts that heard the same case by mistake. Eren Keskin, a Human Rights Association branch chairwoman made a speech in Germany in 2002 that asserted “the military in Turkey is now involved in trade. It buys banks. For as long as the country is not governed by civilian forces, women’s problems will never be solved. The miltiary commits sexual harassment, requiring virginity checks even from married women just to torment them.”

Ms. Keskin was charged by a member of the Turkish parliament, Profssor Necla Arat with violating Article 301. A prosecutor’s office filed a similar complaint which resulted in two separate courts hearing the same case. Legally, the two cases should have been combined but a mistake was made. In one case, the court agreed her comments were protected undr freedom of speech provisions of the constitution, in the other she was convicted but won an appeal. The retrial was halted by the judge who wanted to see if Article 301 would be changed.

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