Euro court fines Turkey for fining singer due to speech in concert

Euro court fines Turkey for fining singer due to speech in concert

Euro court fines Turkey for fining singer due to speech in concert

Singer Fernat Tunç was finned for comments during a concert in 2003. DHA photo

The European Court of Human Rights has fined Turkey 4,250 euros for fining a singer for his speech in a concert without any trial despite his demand to stand trial.

Ferhat Tunç Yoslun, a Turkish national singer, was fined with charges of having made comments during his performance at an authorized concert on Aug. 4, 2003.

The ECHR found that Turkey violated Yoslun’s right to a fair trial and freedom of expression and fined Turkey to 3,250 euros for non-pecuniary damage and 1,000 euros for costs and expenses.

Yoslun, widely known as Ferhat Tunç in Turkey, took part as a singer in a concert organized by the People’s Democratic Party (DEHAP) with authorization from the prefecture. During this concert Yoslun took the floor and gave a speech that was critical of the Turkish government, stating in particular that modern Turkey was neither free, nor democratic. He also made comments in support of the Kurdish nationalist movements, said the court in its verdict.

Police reports were subsequently drawn up. The prosecutor’s office brought charges against Yoslun on Oct. 6, 2003 for failing to obey orders, on the ground that the prefectural authorization for the event was valid only for a concert and did not authorize speeches. Yoslun was ordered to pay a fine. On Dec. 8, 2003 he appealed against the decision and requested a hearing.

However, the Turkish criminal court dismissed his appeal and his request for a hearing on March 30, 2004. “Relying in particular on Article 6 [right to a fair trial], Yoslun complained about the fact that no hearing had been held and alleged that this had had an impact on the rights of the defense. Relying on Article 10 [freedom of expression], he complained that he had been convicted for having addressed the public during his performance at an authorized concert,” said the ECHR in its concluding, while also saying Turkey violated these articles in his case.