The European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) adjudged Turkey to pay 2,340 Euro (around 5,150 Turkish Lira) in compensation for restricting trade union activities of Güldeniz Kaya, Ahmet Seyhan and Saime Özcan, members of the Education and Science Workers Trade Union (Eğitim-Sen).
Özcan was sentenced to 3 months imprisonment, a fine and a two and a half months suspension from duty on the grounds of her participation in nation-wide strikes organized by Eğitim-Sen, which she had attended in her role as a union member. Later on Özcan's prison sentence was altered into a fine.
ECHR: Disregard of the "right to be organized"
Özcan experienced the harm in her professional life caused by the criminal case until up to the year 2007 when the new Penal Code came into force and her penalty was cancelled. Additionally, both Özcan and Seyhan received an admonishment penalty. Özcan and Seyhan applied to the ECHR on 25 May 2004 and 30 July 2004 respectively
Since the annulment of the admonishment penalty was not notified at the court, Özcan and Seyhan were not able to seek justice. Their complaint not only applied to a disregard of article 11 of the European Convention on Human Rights which guarantees "freedom of assembly and associaton". Furthermore, the complaint also applied to article 13 which defines the "right to an effective remedy".
The ECHR adjudged Turkey unanimously on the grounds of disregarding "freedom of assembly and association" as guaranteed in article 11 of the European Convention on Human Rights.
The ECHR declared: "Even if the penalties [of the Turkish court] were light, they were intended to discourage union members from participating in announced and legal one day strikes or other actions. In a democratic society the penalties unnecessarily violated the applicants' right to be organized".
The ECHR announced that they will ask for a judicial control regarding censor and admonishment penalties in Turkey. Due to a lack of constitutional and judiciary control mechanisms, Kaya and Seyhan cannot obtain the annulment of these processes. (EÖ/VK)
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