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Newspaper vendor wins case at ECHR

(BIANET/IFEX) - The European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) has ordered Turkey to pay damages of 1,800€ to news vendor Adnan Görkan. Görkan was arrested by police in June 2004 for selling copies of the daily "Evrensel" in a café.

In the decision, published on 16 March 2010, the ECHR stated that the interference against Görkan constituted a violation of Article 10 of the European Convention on Human Rights (on freedom of expression).

The ECHR decided that "the 'invitation to the police station', which could be regarded as a restriction of liberty on account of its coercive nature and the fact that it was not based on any reasonable grounds, likewise constituted interference with the applicant's freedom to impart information".

Judges Işıl Karakuş from Turkey and Danutė Jočienė from Lithuania voted against the decision.

Görkan was asked for his identity papers by police while selling copies of "Evrensel" in a café in June 2004. According to Görkan, the newspaper copies were then seized by the police and he was taken to the police station. A superintendent from the police station stated that Görkan had not been held in police custody.

Görkan alleged that his detention in police custody for almost three hours had been arbitrary. A prosecutor declined Görkan's request to take action against those responsible and dismissed the proceedings. Görkan took his case to the ECHR on 25 March 2005.

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