Free SpeechNews

Germany refuses request of letters rogatory in Hayko Bağdat’s case saying it would violate freedom of speech

Remarking that “freedom of expression is an inalienable right in its constitution”, the Federal Republic of Germany rejected the request of a Turkish court to take journalist Hayko Bağdat’s defense, whom the Media and Law Studies Association (MLSA) represents, against charges of “terrorist propaganda” via letters rogatory. 

The case in which Bağdat is accused of “making consecutive terrorist propaganda via the press” due to nine social media posts from 2013-2018 is pending before İstanbul 28th High Criminal Court. The indictment which was completed on August 16, 2019 presents a tweet including imprisoned businessperson Osman Kavala’s photo as evidence for crime.

The April 5-dated writ from German legal authorities rejected legal assistance in taking the journalist’s defense and stated: “Since the right to freedom of expression is enshrined as an inalienable fundamental right in the German constitution, the execution of the request [for rogatory letters] would violate the public policy of the Federal Republic of Germany according to Article 2-b of the European Convention on Mutual Assistance in Criminal Matters.”

The article in question states that “Assistance may be refused if the requested Party considers that the execution of the request is likely to prejudice the sovereignty, security, ordre public or other essential interests of its country.”