ECHR orders Turkey to pay compensation to three citizens for violation of freedom of assembly
The European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) on Dec. 19 ordered Turkey to pay compensation to three citizens following their application over a violation of the right to freedom of assembly in suppressed protests in the southern province of Adana.
The court ordered Turkey to pay 240 euros in pecuniary damages to one applicant and 80 euros to the other two.
The case related to fines imposed by Turkish courts against Adnan Öğrü, Veysel Kurtuluş Alabaş, and Beyhan Güvenli for participating in several demonstrations in Adana between 2009 and 2010 following an Adana Governor’s Office decree restricting the times, places and arrangements for demonstrations.
The ECHR found that the review carried out by domestic courts following the applicants’ appeal was incompatible with the principles of the Article 11 of the European Convention on Human Rights, which protects the right to freedom of assembly and association.
“Domestic courts did not balance the competing interests in the case, confining themselves to checking the veracity of the charges against the applicants,” it stated.
The three applicants were ordered to pay administrative fines of 143 Turkish Liras (about 70 euros), on several occasions in the cases of Öğrü and Alabaş, and on one occasion for Güvenli.
All three subsequently appealed the fines, but a series of decisions by an Adana court ruled that the fines were in line with the law. The men then applied to the ECHR in 2010 and 2011.
The Turkish government submitted an objection against the admissibility of the application, saying that because the fines had been quite lenient the applicants could not complain that they had suffered major damage. The ECHR stated that although the fines appeared lenient, the guilty verdict still represented a rights violation of the applicants.
The court therefore ordered Turkey to pay Öğrü and Alabaş 240 euros and Günyeli 80 euros in pecuniary damages.