Euro court fines Turkey for violating pro-Kurdish politician’s freedom of expression

Euro court fines Turkey for violating pro-Kurdish politician’s freedom of expression

The European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) has ruled that Turkey infringed on pro-Kurdish politician Hatip Dicle’s right to freedom of expression by convicting him over an article he published. The ECtHR ordered the Turkish state to pay 4,500 euros in damages to Dicle.

Dicle, who was elected to the Parliament in June 12 elections with the backing of the pro-Kurdish Peace and Democracy Party (BDP), had applied to the Strasbourg-based court following a decision by Turkey’s top election board (YSK) to strip him of his deputyship.

The YSK’s decision had based Dicle’s conviction on terrorism charges in 2009 after he wrote and published an article in which he criticized government policy in the town of Dersim, denouncing the economic situation and the growth of drug trafficking.

The ECtHR decision stated that the Turkish state had violated the 10th article of the European Convention on Human Rights, which regulates freedom of expression, and ordered the country to pay 3,500 euros for non-pecuniary damages and 1,000 euros for costs and expenses to Dicle.

The politician is currently incarcerated as part of the case against the Kurdistan Communities’ Union (KCK), which is accused of being the urban wing of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), itself a terrorist organization according to Turkey, the United States and the European Union.

Penalty over detention conditions

Meanwhile, the court also ruled against Turkey in a case filed by İbrahim Güler, an alleged Hizbullah member serving a prison sentence.

Güler, who was taken into the custody during an operation against Hizbullah in 1996 but convicted in 2005, has complained that both his pre-trial detention and the proceedings as a whole had been excessively long, and that he had been denied access to a lawyer while being questioned by the police, according to the court’s statement.

Güler, who was questioned in the absence of a lawyer, later retracted his statement, claiming that he had been tortured and threatened while in police custody.

The Court found Turkey guilty of violating all of these accusations and ordered the state to pay 12,200 euros for non-pecuniary damages.