Impunity Watch Articles

Once a week (hopefully more, when I get settled), I write for the human rights legal journal Impunity Watch. Although I’m unable to reproduce those articles here, my writings can be followed through this hyperlink:  Another one should be coming out in the next couple of days!

A Pattern of Curbing Dissidence Emerges as Turkey Convicts Cartoonists for Insulting President Erdogan

Two cartoonists for a Turkish satirical magazine have been sentenced for 11 months and 20 days for insulting President Tayyip Erdogan. The usual penalty for the crime of insults was increased to over a year due to the attachment to a public official. The Istanbul court has commuted the sentence for “good behavior” to a fine of 7,000 Turkish liras (approx $2,700 American dollars) for both Bahadir Baruter and Ozer Aydogan, cartoonists at Penguen magazine. The cartoon showed an aide welcoming President Erdogan to the presidential palace. As he approaches, Erdogan says, “But this is so dry. We could have at least slaughtered a journalist.”

According to Penguen, a citizen filed a complaint following the publication of Baruter and Aydogan’s cartoon, claiming that the cartoon suggested President Erdogan was gay. The complaint stated that the circular hand gesture the aide made in the cartoon is a symbol frequently used to insult homosexuals in Turkish slang. Shortly after this complaint was filed, the prosecution office was notified of the cartoon, and indictment charges were brought against the two cartoonists. The court case and subsequent conviction followed soon after. The sentence was for both the dialogue in the cartoon and for the hand gesture. Penguen plans on appealing the conviction, and has openly mocked the case against their cartoonists with new cartoons.

This is not the first time Turkey has prosecuted journalists on alleged insults toward politicians. A clear pattern has emerged where any alleged insults towards President Erdogan will be prosecuted, regardless of age or status. Prosecutors are encouraged to be aggressive with these prosecutions, and seek out opportunities for a defamation conviction. As a result, Turkey has been listed by Reporters Without Borders, a media watchdog group, as one of the worst jailers of journalists and “not free” in terms of free speech. Recently, 37 teachers and students have faced charges for alleged insults during a protest in February. Similarly, former Miss Turkey Merve Buyuksarac faces 4.5 years in prison for insults on social media. Earlier in March, a 13-year-old boy was questioned for a Facebook post.

Good News!

I have been entirely neglectful of my posting the past couple days, and I blame finals 100%.  Law school exams are soul sucking to the point where I am a mere shell of a human being until Thursday afternoon, when all of this will be over!  After an excruciating 3 hour Constitutional Law final, I am finally done for the day.

But I have some good news!  A couple of weeks ago, I applied to Impunity Watch, a human rights law review run by my law school.  Since I hope to practice human rights law one day, I was really hoping to get a spot as a Desk Reporter at the European desk.  I am super pleased to say I have been offered a position as a Desk Reporter!  I’ll find out what desk I am assigned to on Thursday afternoon.

If possible, I’ll try to post some of the articles I write on here, in addition to what is written on Impunity Watch.  If not, I’ll just post links to the website.  Who knows what kind of contract I’ll have to sign?

An Open Letter to Barbri Prep

Dear Barbri Prep,

As finals approach, I wanted to write a quick note (as I procrastinate for finals) about the services you provide and how they have helped me throughout my first year in law school.  While I am still prone to heart palpitations when the professor looks for a student to call upon, I am the basest level of prepared for any ridiculous question they might have due to those wonderful videos you have on your site.  It brings me immense joy when I am able to adequately answer a question that some other idiot student in the class was asked, but was unable to answer.  The extra five minutes I save from reading your outlines and watching your videos allows me to have the mental breakdown I deserve.  That being said, I understand that your company forsaking me in my time of need is a definite foreseeable risk.  Please be aware of your duty of care to me, as breaching this duty of care in the next two weeks constitutes adequate provocation.  All I want is an estoppel from failure, and a good night’s sleep.

Have the best day legally allowed,


PS- betraying the relationship of trust that we have makes you a fidouche. Remember that.

Stop women’s rights defender from going to jail

Ronnie's Blog

Azza-Soliman_Image-by-Rene-ClementCredit: Renee Clement

Author:ActionAid UK

Target: UK Foreign Secretary

Women’s rights lawyer Azza Soliman faces five years in jail after witnessing the killing of an activist by Egyptian police.

We have just days left to get the case dropped and stop this injustice. Azza is due in court on 9 May and says that her best chance of freedom is if the UK Government demands that the Egyptian Authorities drop their case against her.

Stand up for Azza and all women’s rights defenders: call on the UK Foreign Secretary to demand that Egypt drops the case.

Azza was sitting in a cafe in Cairo during the peaceful march in memory of the Arab Revolution, her only ‘crime’ was that she walked outside to watch the passers-by and witnessed the killing of activist, Shaimaa al-Sabbagh, by Egyptian police.

When Azza reported the facts to the police, she was accused of breaching…

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Evaluate My Work, Not My Body Art

This post strikes home for me. Part of the reason I didn’t get my tattoos anywhere visible is because of how ultra conservative the field of law is. Ridiculous. My tattoos are very personal and show a lot of introspection. Just because I’ve decided to adorn my body a certain way does not in any way reflect an inability to do my job.

Ambika Kamath

When I was an undergrad, one of my reasons for wanting to continue in academia was my aversion to Western formal clothing. If I became a Ph.D. student and then a professor, I thought, I would hardly ever need to wear suits or dress shirts, and such a life appealed to me. I had seen academics of all stripes dress in all sorts of ways, and I naively believed that this signalled something very progressive about academia’s stance towards appearance: wear what you want, because you’ll be evaluated based upon your ideas and work, not how you choose to present yourself.

But a recent article in a column called Ask Alice (published on the website of Science, one of the most high profile scientific journals out there) confirms my naivete. In this piece, an anonymous academic who finds themselves in a “conservative place” for their postdoc, asks Dr. Alice Huang, “Am I crazy…

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My First Post


Well, I’ve done it.  I’ve created a blog.  I created this at the worst possible time, with my finals coming up next week, so obviously I’ve reached the peak of my procrastination!  Yay!

Seriously though, why am I doing this?  I’m a 1L (almost 2L!) law student, working to get my law degree and practice Civil Rights Law.  Despite how boring law school is, some would say I lead a marginally interesting life.  While I did most of the fun stuff during my years in college, the more recent boring stuff has challenged me to grow in ways that have been incredibly surprising.  It’s taught me a lot about myself, what I believe in, and what I can offer to the world.  This tiny little blog is one of those offerings.

Why “The Feminist Pensieve?”  First off, I am a third wave feminist.  Google exists, so I’m not going to explain what that means (hint: something to do with equality and justice, and absolutely nothing to do with hating men).  A pensieve, as described in my favorite book series, Harry Potter, is an object used to collect and review memories.  Putting these two parts together, The Feminist Pensieve is a collection of my musings, rantings, and overall views on my feminist life and a place where people can look at it.  So there you have it.

Hope you enjoy!