The ECHR today in two different verdicts concluded the application of Ahmet Sami Belek and Savaş Velioğlu from Günlük Evrensel newspaper and Müdür Duman from People's Democracy Party (HADEP).
In both cases Turkey was concluded to violate right of freedom of expression and condemned to pay 575 euros to Belek, 285 euros to Velioğlu and 1,250 euros for each as solatium. It was also ruled for Duman to be paid for 12,500 euros as solatium and 3,200 euros for law costs.
"Democratic society" emphasis in the verdict
HADEP Eminönü District President Müdür Duman was charged with having Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) flags, publications and articles and books written by PKK leader Abdullah Öcalan in his house. Duman's objections agains the charges had been overlooked by the court.
On July 15, 2001, he was found guilty in the court ruling in which he was absent and couldn't find a chance to submit his final defense for "promoting crime and criminal" and "overlooking crime" and sentenced to six months of prison and 91,260 liras (approximately $30,000).
ECHR: There is no hate speech or call for violence
Second ruling of the ECHR was about the application of managin editor of the newspaper Müdür Belek and editor Velioğlu. On May 21, 2003, an article that included the statements of members of the Kurdistan Freedom and Democracy Congress was published in the newspaper. In the article democratic solution was demanded for the Kurdish question. A day later, a prosecution was brought against the journalists. On December 10, 2003, State Security Court ruled Belek to pay 575 euros, Velioğlu 285 euros, in addition, a three-day publication ban was imposed on the newspaper. Belek and Velioğlu went to ECHR on November 4, 2004 upon their sentences were approved.
ECHR stated that "the article counted as crime element does not involve hate speech and doesn't call for violence" in its ruling which it found Turkey guilty for violation of freedom of expression. (AS/TK)
Click here to read the article in Turkish
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