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ECHR rules against Turkey in case of murdered journalist

(BIANET/IFEX) - 25 August 2010 - The European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) convicted Turkey in the case of Hrant Dink. The Turkish-Armenian journalist was assassinated on 19 January 2007 in Istanbul.

According to news obtained by BIANET, the ECHR chamber decided that there had been a violation of the right to life because Turkey did not prevent the murder of the journalist and did not carry out an effective investigation afterwards. One of the files tried in the scope of this case was related to the punishment handed down to Dink prior to his death based on Article 301 of the Turkish Criminal Law which bans "insults" to the Turkish state. The ECHR saw a violation of freedom of expression in the sentence.

In the defence argument recently submitted by Turkey to the Strasbourg court, Dink was compared to a Nazi leader and was accused of publishing "hate speeches". Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu and Justice Minister Sadullah Ergin had both distanced themselves from the defence.

After the defence argument made headlines, Turkish President Abdullah Gül admitted that Dink died because the necessary precautions had not been taken. Subsequently, he invited Hosrof Dink, brother of the killed journalist, to a meeting on 20 August.

The final court decision is expected to be announced in September. If Turkey decides to appeal, the ECHR Great Chamber will give the final decision.

Lawyer Fethiye Cetin, joint attorney of the Dink family, stated that rights violations continue in the trials and investigations related to Dink's murder. Cetin indicated, "The means of domestic remedies are being exhausted one by one".

The joint lawyers of the Dink family await the investigation of all persons involved in the murder who played a background role. However, Cetin does not expect much in the face of the developments.

According to the lawyer, the cases tried in Turkey and the investigation into the Dink murder constitute a violation of several articles of the European Convention of Human Rights. These are namely Articles 2, 6, 10, 13 and 14 on the right to life, the right to a fair trial, the right to freedom of expression, to an effective remedy and the prohibition of discrimination respectively.

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