Human rights activist Keskin awarded Olof Palme Prize
Lawyer Eren Keskin, the co-chair of Turkey's Human's Right Association (IHD), was awarded Olof Palme Prize 2023 alongside psychologist Marta Chumalo from Ukraine, co-founder of Women's Perspectives center, and journalist Narges Mohammadi from Iran, prominent human rights activist.
Keskin, Chumola and Mohammadi were awarded the prize "for their efforts in the fight to secure women's freedom, in an age when human rights are threatened by war, violence and oppression," the organizers said in a statement, adding:
"Throughout their lives and through their actions, these three women, along with many of their sisters in struggle, have inspired others and paved the way for courageous young women and men to continue fighting for the fundamental human rights of all people."
It was stressed in the statement that Keskin "has been subjected to accusations and death threats, as well as hundreds of prosecutions. She has also been imprisoned for her beliefs," and that "by establishing The Association of Legal Aid Against Sexual Violence, she has succeeded in having several senior military and authority figures prosecuted over the years."
Keskin was imprisoned for her activities in 1995. In 2002, she was prosecuted by a state security court over allegedly "aiding" Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK). In 2006, she was sentenced to a prison term of 10 months by a Turkish court for "insulting" the Turkish military. In 2018, she was sentenced to seven and a half years in prison over some articles published in daily Ozgur Gundem during the time she served as co-editor-in-chief. The same year she was sentenced to 5 years and 3 months in prison for "insulting the president," and another 2 years and 3 months for "degrading Turkishness, the republic, and institutions of the state." In December 2021, Eren's house was raided by the police over an investigation into a speech she had made two and a half years earlier.
Chumalo, a feminist, gender expert and psychologist, has been working to support women exposed to violence for 20 years, and since 2014, she has been heavily involved in raising awareness about the effects of the war, and in addressing the needs of its victims.
Mohammadi, who has been a central figure in the struggle for women's rights and freedom of speech in Iran, is one of the founders of the Iranian National Peace Council and a figurehead in organizations such as Defenders of Human Rights Centre and Legam (the Campaign for Step-by-Step Abolition of the Death Penalty). Her involvement has led to her repeated arrest, and she has served several prison terms. Since November 2021, she has been incarcerated in the notorious Evin Prison, convicted of "propaganda against the state."