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RIGHTS >Euro court to prioritize applications regarding press freedom, journalists

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The European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) will give priority to applications regarding press freedom and journalists, in line with a recent amendment to its bylaw, according to a May 31 report by Deutsche Welle.

The Strasbourg-based court made an amendment on its bylaw on May 31 regarding the sorting of cases that will be processed after journalists in many European countries have applied to the court in recent years with complaints on press freedom, the report stated.

According to the amendment, the ECHR will now process applications filed by detained or arrested individuals directly linked to the use of a right envisaged in the European Convention of Human Rights under the “Category I” as an “urgent” application.

The court had previously processed cases with “urgent” under category regarding cases particularly risking to life or health of the applicant.

According to sources, the amendment had mostly been triggered by applications filed by detained or arrested journalists from countries such as Russia, Azerbaijan and Turkey.

Following the latest amendment, the ECHR is now expected to prioritize proceedings for applications filed by Turkish journalists in recent months and demand the government’s plea.

Turkey currently has the biggest number of cases filed against it at the court as of April 30 following dismissals in public sector in the wake of the July 2016 failed coup attempt.

According to recent data, there are currently 23,000 applications filed against Turkey at the court. Some 17,630 of those applications were filed in the aftermath of the failed coup attempt.

Applications from Turkey make up 24.7 percent of 93,150 applications at the ECHR’s agenda. The country is followed by Ukraine, Hungary, Romania, Russia and Italy.

Similarly, the ECHR had decided to prioritize the case of the jailed journalists and executives of Turkish daily newspaper Cumhuriyet in April along with jailed journalists Ahmet Altan, Mehmet Altan, Atilla Taş and Murat Aksoy.

Last month, imprisoned journalist Ahmet Şık had also applied to the court demanding his immediate release, citing a court ruling from three years ago stating that his rights had been violated.

June/01/2017

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