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European court convicts Turkey three times for violating free expression

The European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) convicted Turkey of violating freedom of expression in the case of Bülent Kaya. The applicant was convicted by a Turkish court for "praising crime and criminals" due to a public speech he made, while the audience shouted slogans favoring the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) leader Abdullah Öcalan.

The ruling was issued on October 22, and said that Turkey violated Convention Article 10 regarding freedom of expression.

Turkey was ordered to pay 860 euros for pecuniary damages, 4,000 euros for non-pecuniary damages and 500 euros for court expenses.

In 2003, Bülent Kaya made a public speech at a protest organized by a political party. A criminal court convicted Kaya of "praising crime and criminals", sentencing him to 3 months in prison.

In 2008, the sentence was commuted to a fine of 2,000 liras. Kaya reportedly paid the fine in July 2008.

Similarly, on October 9, ECHR found Turkey guilty of violating freedom of expression for issuing an injunction on an article by Cumhuriyet newspaper. The complaint was filed by Abdullah Gül, the current president of Turkey, prior to the 2007 presidential elections. The court ordered the Turkish government to pay each applicant editor 2,500 euros as non-pecuniary damages and 5,100 euros as court expenses.

Lastly, on October 1, the court found the Turkish State guilty of violating freedom of expression in a case where 19 applicants were convicted for signing a petition that used the word "Sayin" [esteemed], when referring to PKK leader, Abdullah Öcalan.

The court ordered Turkey to pay 60,660 euros to 19 applicants. Turkey will also pay 100,000 euros in court expenses.

Click here to read the original article in Turkish.

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