ECHR fines Turkey over conviction of journalists
AFP PhotoThe European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) has ordered Turkey to pay 3,360 euros for violating freedom of expression, after the application of two journalists from daily Evrensel who were convicted for publishing an article containing a statement by an illegal armed organization.
The court ruled unanimously that there had been a violation of Article 10 (freedom of expression) of the European Convention on Human Rights and ordered Turkey to pay Ahmet Sami Belek and Savaş Velioğlu a total of 3,360 euros in pecuniary and non-pecuniary damages.
Belek is the proprietor and Velioğlu is the editor of Evrensel.
The two applicants were convicted by a Turkish State Security Court for publishing an article back in 2003 containing a statement by an illegal armed organization.
However, the ECHR found that the text did not contain any call for violence, armed resistance or insurrection and also did not amount to hate speech.
On May 21, 2003, Evrensel published an article containing a statement by members of the outlawed Kurdistan Freedom and Democracy Congress (KADEK), an affiliate of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK).
The public prosecutor issued an indictment against the newspaper on the following day, and on Dec. 10, 2003 a State Security Court ordered Belek and Velioğlu to pay fines equivalent to approximately 575 euros and 285 euros respectively. It also banned the publication of the newspaper for three days.
Belek and Velioğlu later appealed to the ECHR, relying on Article 6 (right to a fair trial) and Article 10 (freedom of expression) of the European Convention on Human Rights.