Civil Rights Defenders has awarded rights defender Murat Çelikkan the Civil Rights Defender of the Year Award 2018.
Murat Çelikkan is the co-director of independent human rights organization Truth Justice Memory Center.
Founded in 1975 as the Sweden Helsinki Committee for Human Rights, Civil Rights Defenders has given this award annually since 2013.
The Truth Justice Memory Center was founded by a group of attorneys, journalists, and human rights defenders in 2010. The center aims to to uncover the truth concerning past human rights violations, strengthen the collective memory about those violations, and support survivors in their pursuit of justice.
"This award is an acknowledgment of the work we do, and I personally feel privileged to receive it. It is important to keep supporting the civil society in countries where human rights are under attack. I hope that this acknowledgment will lead to stronger international support to civil society in Turkey, as well as to increased security of rights defenders in the country," said Murat Çelikkan after receiving the award.
Murat Çelikkan had served as Deputy Editor-in-Chief in Özgür Gündem's May 28, 2016 issue to show support for the newspaper. He was tried at Istanbul 13th Heavy Penal Court on May 16, 2017 for his support and found guilty for "terror propaganda" under Article 7/2 of the Anti-Terror Law.
The court board comprising Pınar Gezen Atanian and Kadri Arslan didn't apply remission on the ground that "the suspect hasn't shown sufficient remorse" and didn't postpone the sentence despite precedent.
Çelikkan was sent to Kırklareli Prison on August 14 and released on October 21.
About Murat Çelikkan
He has worked in multiple positions such as reporter, editor, columnist and editor-in-chief during his 25-year career in journalism.
An active participant in the human rights movement in Turkey, he founded the Human Rights Association, Amnesty International Turkey, the Helsinki Citizens' Association and took place in their board of directors. He has worked on projects concerning the Kurdish question and media ethics.
Since 2010, he has been serving as co-director of the Truth Justice Memory Center of which he is one of the founders. (HK/PU)
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