Application of Murat Işırık (33), who stayed in prison for 4 years and 8 months on charge of “propagandizing for a terror organization” for doing victory sign in a funeral and in a demonstration at his university in Turkey’s southeastern Diyarbakır, has been concluded by the European Court of Human Rights.
In its decision, the ECtHR ruled that Işırık’s freedom of assembly and association was violated, and condemned Turkey to pay 16,000 Euros.
Accusation: Attending a funeral and a demonstration at the university
14 Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) members were killed on March 24, 2006. Bodies of four of them were delivered to their families in Diyarbakır. The bodies were taken from the mosque on March 28, and 2,000 people gathered to attend the funeral.
According to the police report, following the funeral as many as 1,000 people marched with slogans and the police intervened in the group. Some in the crowd threw stones at the police. The protests continued on March 29-30-31 and April 1, 2006.
Protests in support of imprisoned PKK Leader Abdullah Öcalan were staged in Dicle University campus on March 5, 2007.
Işıkırık was studying at Dicle University Department of Philosophy at that time.
Işıkırık was detained on March 9, 2007. In the questioning at Diyarbakır Security Directorate Anti-Terror Bureau, he was accused of attending the funeral on March 28, 2006 and the protests in the university in the following year. He refused both accusations. He was shown photos of him taken at both events.
In his deposition upon that, Işıkırık said that one of the PKK members killed was a relative of his friend, he attended the funeral to fulfill his religious duty but he didn’t throw stone at the police. As for the university protest, he thought he was taken his photo with his friends standing in front of the building and he didn’t chant slogans with the protesters.
He was arrested on charge of “propagandizing for a terror organization” at Diyarbakır Heavy Penal Court.
Evidence in the indictment: Victory sign
He was charged with “propagandizing for a terror organization” and “being a member of an illegal organization”. His photo of him doing victory sign was presented as evidence.
The first hearing was held on June 19, 2007. In his statement of defense, Işıkırık said that he might have done victory sign with the crowd but he didn’t chant slogan in the funeral and demonstration. The witness who attended the hearing confirmed his statement.
On November 30, 2007 he was found guilty on charges of “propagandizing for a terror organization” and “being a member of an illegal organization” and sentenced to 7 years and 11 months in prison in the fourth hearing.
The verdict was reversed by the Supreme Court of Appeal but the court found Işıkırık guilty once again.
Upon that verdict, Işıkırık applied to the ECtHR.
In its verdict, the ECtHR the ECtHR ruled that Işırık’s freedom of assembly and association was violated, and condemned Turkey to pay 7,500 Euros of immaterial damage and 8,500 Euros of material damage. (AS/TK)
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