Jailed Turkish journalist Ahmet Şık applies to Euro court, cites previous ruling for release

Jailed Turkish journalist Ahmet Şık applies to Euro court, cites previous ruling for release

Jailed Turkish journalist Ahmet Şık applies to Euro court, cites previous ruling for release

AFP photo

Imprisoned Turkish journalist Ahmet Şık has applied to the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) demanding his immediate release, citing a court ruling from three years ago that his rights had been violated, daily Cumhuriyet reported on May 10.

Şık was arrested on Dec. 30, 2016 over several of his tweets and articles for daily Cumhuriyet. He was arrested alongside 19 suspects from the daily, charged “membership of an armed terrorist organization” and “helping an armed terrorist organization while not being a member of it.”

The prosecutor demands between 7.5 and 15 years in prison for the journalist on charges of “helping and being a member of the [outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party] PKK and the [Revolutionary People’s Liberation Party/Front] DHKP/C.”

The application submitted by Cumhuriyet’s lawyers on behalf of Şık recalled that he, along with colleague Nedim Şener, spent more than a year in prison awaiting trial before the publication of Şık’s book, “The Imam’s Army,” which focused on U.S.-based Islamic preacher Fethullah Gülen’s followers within the police and the judiciary as a part of the controversial OdaTV case. 

The lawyers stated that Şık was acquitted in that case last month, while citing the 2014 ECHR decision that ruled that the European Convention on Human Rights was breached during his pre-trial arrest in 2011.

In two separate ECHR rulings for both Şık and Şener, Turkey was found guilty of violating Article 5-3 of the European Convention of Human Rights on the “length and reasonableness of pre-trial,” Article 5-4 on “procedural guarantees of review,” and Article 10 on “freedom of expression.” It also ordered Turkey to pay 10,000 euros in compensation to Şık and 20,000 euros to Şener.

“The unjust arrest of journalists has become chronic and the fact that the applicant is under arrest is a symbolic example of this,” the lawyers stated in their application.

“The relationship with this application regarding the arrest in 2017 and the findings in the [ECHR] Şık-Turkey decision [in 2014] points to a huge threat originating from the judiciary, both from the point of the applicant and all journalists. There is a parallelism with the arrest of the applicant and the arrest of Cumhuriyet columnists and executives. The arrest of Cumhuriyet columnists, executives and lawyers shows that the arrest of the applicant is not a singular event but part of systematic ‘judicial harassment,’” they added. 

They also noted the contradiction that Şık was arrested on charges of “engaging FETÖ and PKK propaganda” but was indicted for “aiding PKK and DHKP-C.”

In addition, the lawyers also demanded a merger with the previous application made by Cumhuriyet columnists and executives to the ECHR.

The application concluded that freedom of expression and safety, enshrined in Article 18 of the European Convention on Human Rights, had been violated and thus demanded Şık’s immediate release, as well as 20,000 euros in compensation.