The European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) in Strasbourg found Turkey guilty of a violation of Article 10 of the European Convention on Human Rights regarding freedom of expression. The ruling was communicated on 8 February. It was based on the complaint of Ünsal Öztürk, owner of the Yurt Publishing Company. He applied to the ECHR because national courts had continuously refused to return books published by his company.
The books had been confiscated in the 1990 for containing separatist propaganda and concerned the works of sociologist İsmail Beşikçi in particular. Öztürk is still facing a heavy prison sentence for the books on subject. Beşikçi was sentenced to more than 100 years in jail on the grounds of his books published by Yurt Publishing. He was released in accordance with the Conditional Amnesty Law later on. Öztürk demanded to have the books returned after the trial was finished.
However, the courts rejected Öztürk's request although Article 8 of the Anti-Terror Law was repealed and even though the legal basis for the ban had been eliminated.
The ECHR decreed for a violation of Article 10 of the convention. Turkey is to pay € 9,000 to the publisher for non-pecuniary damage and € 500 for costs and expenses.
Human Rights Advocate Tuncer receives compensation
In the scope of another case, the ECHR decided for a fine of € 18,100 including costs and expenses payable to lawyer Gülizar Tuncer. Tuncer had been exposed to police violence when she attended a protest action against the introduction of F Type prisons in Turkey in December 2000.
Tuncer was injured in the incident. The ECHR decreed for a violation of Articles 3 and 11 of the convention on the "prohibition of inhumane and degrading treatment" and "freedom of assembly and association", respectively. Furthermore, the ECHR declared that the degrading behaviour against Tuncer had not been effectively investigated. (EÖ/VK)
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