Europe Newsletter February 2021

This Newsletter contains a very urgent action   and the shocking news that Eren Keskin has been sentenced to 6 years in prison. Please find more information and suggested actions below.

The trial against Elzbieta, Joanna and Anna should come to a verdict on 2 March. Please continue highlighting the case on social media and post messages of solidarity. We are also continuing to campaign for the right to protest in France, see update.

Urgent appeal to all teachers and activists with connections to schools or Roma communities.  The deadline for settled status applications for EU migrants expires in June. Those who have not applied will loose access to public funds including medical care and face deportation to their countries of origin. Many Roma families have fled discrimination and racist persecution in their Central an d Eastern Europe and can not return. But language and literacy barriers as well as problems in supplying the right paperwork make the application very difficult for many. Please download the attached information provided by the Roma Support Group with detailed links on how to help with the application process and reach out to Roma families.

I am happy to share details about a great International Women’s day event introduced by Kate Allen focusing on Women Human Rights Defenders in Poland  on 8th March at 6pm   Please check, but register here:-

We have some great news : We now have a country coordinator for Turkey again.  Welcome Chris Ramsey:-

I have been a member of AI for over 40 years and am currently Chair of the Truro and District Group in Cornwall. From 2009-2019 I was the

Regional Representative for the South West and really enjoyed my time working with hundreds of enthusiastic activists on AI campaigns and cases we were all committed to. I am looking forward to being part of the Europe team as the Turkey Country Coordinator and meeting (if only virtually!) as many as possible of you working on cases in this region.”

Solidarity with Eren Keskin

​Eren Keskin was convicted in the Ozgur Gundem trial in which she was being prosecuted for ‘membership of an armed terrorist organisation’ since December 2016. This is the first time Eren was found guilty of membership. She received a sentence of six years and three months in prison.

Following the verdict (which is subject to appeal and Eren is NOT detained pending the appeals process), she tweeted this:

‘I am in the human rights movement for 30 years now. I’ve been prosecuted many times, imprisoned for my thoughts. This is the 1st time I have been considered to be a ‘member of an armed terrorist organisation’, and convicted. 6 years 3 months. I won’t go anywhere. I am here.’

We are asking sections to send her messages of solidarity – focusing on the message “We stand with Eren Keskin – we are not going anywhere either”, in line with the quote we issued yesterday.

Please make messages of solidarity from activists public on social media tagging Eren (@KeskinEren1). Please use #ErenKeskininYanındayım (#IStandWithErenKeskin)​

In addition, section directors from around the world are particularly welcome to tweet a message of solidarity with Eren, tagging her in their messages and using the hashtag #ErenKeskininYanındayım

As always, please don’t hesitate to contact us should you have any queries.

For any questions please contact Chris Ramsey at 

Brexit :  Thousands of Roma families at risk of deportation from the UK !

Thousands of children born in the UK are at risk of loosing access to healthcare and public services and risking deportation to a country they have never lived in.  For EU migrants to apply for settled status they must complete an on-line application (can be done with a smartphone,) for all members of the family including each child, including those children born in the UK.  A passport or biometric ID card has to be scanned in . Those who have older identity documents will have to ask for a paper application. All this can be a real barrier for people who due to decades of discrimination in Central Europe missed out on education. Evidence of residency is also difficult for people who work in informal employment as cleaners etc. Letters from schools can be used as proof for residency. We have teamed up with the Roma support group and the National teachers union to help as many families to register as possible. Please help !  Please send the attached information collated by the Roma support Group to schools and teachers.  Some groups might be happy to be a contact for help in completing forms ? The contact for the National Teachers Union is

Below is an extract from ROMEA CZ outlining the difficulties for many families :

Most Eastern Europeans on British territory, according to Plachetková, are experiencing problems with applying for settled status because they have no current travel documents from their countries of origin, as those were not previously been required of them. “The system was different before in Great Britain, Czech citizens did not have to present such travel documents here to the local authorities or police,” she describes.

“That was not just the case for Czech citizens, but for all citizens from Eastern Europe,” Plachetková explains, adding that such people lack current documents and that their children do not have Czech birth certificates because they were born in the British Isles and their parents never recorded their existence with a Czech registry office. “No British local authority or school ever asked parents for Czech documents, the British birth certificate was enough.”

“Most clients whom this affects are children between the ages of 10 and 15,” she says. “They are not recorded at a Czech registry office, so the Czech Republic knows nothing at all about them.”

“If a client has never been recorded at a Czech registry office, then he or she cannot apply for a Czech travel document,” Plachetková explains, warning that while children will not be deported if their parents have settled status, any children whose parents do not have such status will no longer have the right to take advantage of state health insurance. According to her, 47 000 Czech citizens have applied for settled status so far.


A.S., a Chechen man currently held in immigration detention in France faces imminent deportation to Russia where he would be at real risk of being subject to torture and other ill-treatment. His deportation is scheduled for 26 February. The authorities must ensure the safety of A.S. by not deporting him and granting him protection, in accordance with France’s obligations under international human rights law.

Please take immediate action by signing and forwarding the action below to as many people as possible !

International Women’s Day Event:  Solidarity with Polish Women

‘The fight for women’s rights in Poland and the role of international solidarity’

Event description: 

Poland has a long history of women standing up for their rights and the recent announcement of a near-total ban on abortion has led to some of the largest protests the country has ever seen. This International Women’s Day we will hear from three inspiring women who are standing up for a more equal Poland. 

We will be joined by Joanna Polish WHRD, Olivia & Mola Melaniuk (both from International Council of Polish Women) and Kasia Zaremba-Niedzwiedzka (to intro Olivia and Mola if needed).

The conversation will be hosted by Amnesty International UK, with an introduction from Kate Allen (AIUK’s Director). The discussion will include hearing from the panellists about their campaigning and the role of international solidarity.

Please register here:

Please  advertise far and wide !

Joanna Polish WHRD currently facing charges along side Elzbieta & Anna.
Olivia Masoja Olivia Masoja is a 20 year old woman living in Warsaw, Poland. A student of law and Human Rights, she has been an active participant in the Women’s Strike since 2016 when the people of Poland first came out into the streets to protest the ruling party’s divisive abortion law proposal. She has since helped organise the first Pride in her home town of Kielce, and continued supporting pro-choice movements where possible.

Ever since the reignition of the protest after the Christmas break there have been reports of increased police brutality. On 28/1 Olivia witnessed and experienced first-hand this escalation of the Polish government’s response to the Women’s Strike.  On Monday the 8th March she is going to tell us about the brutal repression of protest but also about the courage and resilience of the women who just will not give up fighting for their rights.

Mola Melaniuk Mola Melaniuk is a 20 years old high school graduate from Warsaw. She began protesting at Women’s Strike in 2016, and has been a fierce contributor to the Polish opposition ever since. During the October protests following the anti-abortion law proposed by the Constitutional Tribunal in Poland, she took it upon herself to provide updates to over 20k demonstrators via the telegram app. Inspired by the Belarussian revolt, she sought to ensure her fellow protestors’ safety both from potential police interventions and attacks by extreme nationalists. Her mission is simple: radical solidarity in the fight for better tomorrow.


On 9th December 2020, she found herself in front of a police station to express support  for those detained in the Women’s Strike. Soon after the mainstream media left for the night, the police stepped in to remove the demonstration and arrested several of the peaceful protesters –many of them very young– without first attempting to negotiate and, in Mola’s case, in direct violation of art. 157 § 1 of the Penal Code. Despite not resisting, Mola was treated with ruthless brutality and as consequence suffered several points of spiral fracture in her left arm, all for the apparent crime of breaking the curfew. She was held in a police car for nearly an hour and in that time denied medical attention.


In the aftermath, Mola had to undergo a surgery on her broken arm and is potentially facing years of physical therapy. On top of the medical cost, she’s also expecting a prolonged legal battle. The Police insist this treatment of a peaceful protestor was adequate and lawful, and the officer responsible is not only still employed, but also seen at other OSK protests.

(P Prescott edit)

AI Feminist network representative  ?

France : Defend the right to protest

We are continuing to campaign for the right to protest in France.

Below you find further briefings and Amnesty International’s latest press release from 8th February. Please continue to promote the on-line petition  :

At the moment, AI France has collected almost 60,000 signatures which is a great result and the report and the campaign has received a lot of visibility. We need to help them out and we need to mobilise and galvanise international attention to increase the number of signatures collected internationally. We have extended the timeline for the campaign – now until September 2021 – and we hope you will all join and help us raise attention towards France and the treatment of peaceful protesters. We are aiming for 200000 signatures world-wide. Please help to achieve this goal.

If you have time to write letters, please write to

Her Excellency, Catherine Colonna Ambassador of France to the United Kingdom

58 Knightsbridge, Belgravia, London SW1X7JT

Please find the full Amnesty International report here :


As you recall, on 29 September 2020, the ‘Arrested for protest. Weaponizing the law to crackdown on peaceful protesters in France’ report and #EyesOnFrance international campaign were launched, aiming to pressure President Macron to adhere to his commitment and allow people to peacefully protest without fear of fines, arrests, prosecutions and harassment and put an end to the use of criminal law to crackdown on peaceful protesters in France. We were aiming to collect 100,000 signatures nationally and 100,000 internationally.

Press release 8th February

France: Authorities silence dissent against controversial global security bill

French authorities are using illegal tactics to crush protests and silence critics of the dangerous ‘Global Security Bill’ which will be voted on in the French Senate next month, Amnesty International said in a briefing today. The bill would restrict the ability of people to circulate images of police violence, and at the same time, extends the surveillance powers of police through the use of CCTV and drones.

“People protesting against the dangerous Global Security Bill have been arrested and detained on spurious grounds. The heavy-handed way in which French police have dealt with these protests only emphasizes why scrutiny over policing is so necessary. This bill could prevent journalists from reporting on police violence, an extremely dangerous precedent to set,” said Marco Perolini, Amnesty International’s Europe Researcher.

“Detaining people who are peacefully protesting against a law which would further trample over their rights is a move straight out of the ‘human rights violators’ playbook. These dangerous practices pose a grave threat to the rights of people in France.”

Tens of thousands of people including journalists, activists and others have taken to the streets in France since November 2020 to oppose the Global Security Bill as well as the Bill on Republic Values.

Protests organized on 12 December 2020 in several cities were attended by tens of thousands of protesters. On that day 142 people were arrested in Paris, 124 of whom were put in pre-charge detention. In nearly 80% of these cases, protesters were eventually not prosecuted.

Many of these protesters were arrested for non-violent crimes that are vaguely defined in French law; these include the crime of contempt against public officials, and participating in a group with a view to preparing violent acts.

Precisely because of the vague definition of these offences, there are insufficient grounds to justify many of the arrests and pre-charge detentions. Amnesty International has raised similar concerns regarding arbitrary arrests related to the ‘Gilets Jaunes’ (Yellow Vests) protests against pension reforms which started in 2018, as well as protests following the COVID-19 lockdown in 2020.

Despite authorities encouraging people to take measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19, wearing face masks during a public assembly was cited amongst the grounds for arrest.

“Amnesty International is calling on President Emmanuel Macron to ensure that all laws that violate the right to peaceful assembly are scrapped. People peacefully participating in protests ahead of the debate at the Senate on 3 March must be allowed to do so without the threat of arrest hanging over them.”


The National Assembly adopted the bill on 24 November 2020.

The Senate Committee discussion will take place on 3 March and Plenary vote on 15 March.


On 29 September, Amnesty International launched the ‘Eyes on France’ international campaign urging President Macron to allow people to peacefully protest. In France alone, to date, around 60,000 people signed the petition.