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ECHR orders government to compensate free expression activist for imprisonment over statement on conscientious objector

(BIANET/IFEX) - The European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) has sentenced Turkey to pay Sanar Yurdatapan 3,500 Euros in compensation for violating his freedom of expression. He had been sentenced to two months' imprisonment for a statement supporting conscientious objector Osman Murat Ülke.

Yurdatapan, spokesperson for the Initiative against Crimes of Thought, was awarded 2,000 Euros in damages and 1,500 Euros in legal costs by the ECHR on 8 January 2008.

After a trial in 2001, Yurdatapan was sentenced to two months' imprisonment for the statement supporting Ülke, and did in fact go to prison.

Yurdatapan appealed to the ECHR in 2001, citing Article 10 of the European Convention on Human Rights. The court decreed that the statement did not incite violence nor openly call for desertion.

The ECHR declared that such a punishment was "unnecessary in a democratic society". Furthermore, the court cited Article 6/1 of the Convention and said that the right to a fair trial had been violated.

Yurdatapan is also spokesperson for the Initiative for Freedom of Expression (Antenna-TR), a member organisation of the International Freedom of Expression Exchange (IFEX) network.

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