The European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) has pronounced its judgement in the case of Prof. Dr. İbrahim Kaboğlu and Prof. Dr. Baskın Oran, who previously applied to the court after the verbal attacks and threats that they were subjected to due to the Minority Report, which they jointly prepared in 2004, were not penalized by the courts in Turkey.
The ECtHR has ruled that Turkey has violated the Article no. 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights on "Right to respect for private and family life". Turkey has been sentenced to pay a total of 7 thousand Euro (approx. 42 thousand TRY) in pecuniary and non-pecuniary damages.
"News reports contain threats and hate speech"
Prof. Dr. İbrahim Kaboğlu, who was the Chair of the Prime Ministry Advisory Board on Human Rights at the time and is currently the İstanbul MP of the Republican People's Party (CHP), and Prof. Dr. Baskın Oran, who was the Chair of the Minority Rights and Cultural Rights Working Group, were tried due to their "Minority Report" dated 2004 and were acquitted by the court.
Following the release of their report on minority rights, a number of articles condemning it and attacking the professors were published in the press.
Taking the view that those articles contained insults, threats and hate speech against them, Kaboğlu and Oran filed four claims for damages against the authors and the proprietors of the daily newspapers in question.
In its judgement dated October 30, the ECtHR has stated, "The applicants lost their cases before the domestic courts, which took the view that the offending articles fell within legislation protecting freedom of expression."
"Threats attempted to create fear and anxiety"
In the judgement of the ECtHR, it has been emphasized that "the verbal attacks and threats of physical harm" made against Kaboğlu and Oran "sought to undermine their intellectual personality, causing them feelings of fear, anxiety and vulnerability".
It has also been indicated that the threats and hate speech in question aimed "to humiliate them and break their will to defend their ideas".
In its judgement, the ECtHR has ruled that "the domestic courts had not struck a fair balance between the applicants' right to respect for their private life and freedom of the press".
Based on this judgement, the ECtHR has sentenced Turkey to pay Kaboğlu and Oran one thousand 500 Euro each in respect of non-pecuniary damage and 4 thousand Euro jointly for costs and damages. (AS/SD)
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