Euro judge warns Turkey on long jail terms

Euro judge warns Turkey on long jail terms

ISTANBUL - Hürriyet Daily News
Euro judge warns Turkey on long jail terms

Justice Işıl Karakaş. AA Photo

The first female Turkish justice at the European Court of Human Rights has urged Turkey to maintain a balance between freedom of expression and anti-terrorism measures while also warning Ankara about the number of cases pending before the court.

“The number of pending cases at the European Court of Human Rights has reached 16,000, and 245 of them pertain to the freedom of expression. All states take measures while fighting against terrorism, but the freedom of expression ought to be protected,” Justice Işıl Karakaş said, according to daily Cumhuriyet.

Karakaş laid out her warnings in a briefing to 17 government institutions.

Karakaş said 24 percent of all pending cases regarding Turkey at the European court are about the prolonged duration of legal proceedings, while 16 percent pertain to the violation of property rights and expropriation.

“Respect for human rights... and the principle of [upholding] a state of law are crucial to the sensitive balance between security and freedom,” said Karataş, who arrived in Ankara upon the invitation of the Undersecretariat of Public Order and Security.

Karakaş also said certain articles of Turkey’s Anti-Terror Law harbor great perils to the freedom of expression and called for article 301 of the Turkish Penal Code to be scrapped entirely.

The European court receives large numbers of cases from Turkey over the violation of press freedoms, leading to unfavorable perceptions in Europe, while the length of arrest periods in Turkey run counter to the jurisprudence of the European court, she said.

According to data released Jan. 26, a total of 159 cases filed against Turkey resulted in judgments that included at least one violation of human rights. Russia followed Turkey as the second most-convicted violator, with 121 judgments including at least one violation, while Ukraine came in third with 105 convictions.

Around one-third of all unfavorable judgments passed against Turkey had to do with complaints regarding the length of proceedings, according to the European court’s website – a problem that has led to years of imprisonments for many, including dozens of journalists arrested on various charges.
Most of the remaining verdicts pronounced against Turkey by the European court found it guilty of charges pertaining to “inhuman or degrading treatment,” “lack of effective investigation,” “right to liberty and security,” “right to a fair trial,” “non-execution” and “protection of property.”