Human Rights

MLSA brings the detention and conviction of journalist Nedim Türfent before the ECtHR

The Legal Team of the Media and Law Studies Association (MLSA) has brought the deprivation of liberty and conviction of journalist Nedim Türfent to the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR). Türfent was arrested because of his professional activities on 13 May 2016. The application asks the Court to evaluate Türfent’s detention and conviction to be evaluated in the context of ECtHR articles on the right to a fair trial (Art. 6), freedom of expression (Art. 10), and restriction of rights (Art. 18).

Journalist Türfent was arrested on 13 May 2016 with the allegation of “membership in a terrorist organization” and was sentenced to 8 years and 9 months in prison on 15 December 2017 for “membership in a terrorist organization” and “making propaganda for a terrorist organization” after reporting the threat of special security officers making a group of Kurdish workers lie on the ground with reverse handcuffs and shouting “You will see the power of the Turks!” at them in a construction site in Yüksekova Hakkari. In the application filed by the Legal Team of MLSA, it was stated that the interference on the right to freedom of expression of journalist Türfent did not pursue a legitimate aim.

‘The interference with freedom of expression does not meet the predictability criteria of the law’

Türfent was sentenced to 8 years and 9 months in prison by the Hakkari 2nd High Criminal Court and his sentence was upheld by the Court of Cassation. In the application, it was argued that Türfent’s heavy sentence along with his 19 months of detention do not comply with the principle of proportionality. It was reminded that Türfent can still claim to be a victim considering the fact that the Constitutional Court did not evaluate the stated violation of the right to freedom of press and expression in the individual application made by Türfent.

Arguing that the news made by Türfent, which was used as a justification for his conviction, does not constitute a crime and that his right to freedom of expression, which was guaranteed by Article 10 of the Convention, was violated. Referring to the decisions made previously by the Court, it was stated that Türfent’s detention and conviction were grounded solely on his activities as a journalist and it did not meet the predictability criteria of the law.

It was shared with the court that in addition to the many news made by Türfent, the news titled “You will see the power of the Turk”, he was targeted for disturbing the authorities. Arguing that the motivation behind the detention and conviction without concrete facts was to silence the journalist, Türfent’s lawyers asked the Court to evaluate their complaint on the violation of Article 18 along with Article 10 of the Convention.

Referring to the Court’s decision of violation in the cases of Sadak and others/Turkey and Osmanoğlu/Turkey, Türfent’s lawyers argued that “taking the defense and the statements of the applicant by trial-video conference system (SEGBIS) method without bringing him before the court in all proceedings throughout the trial, the applicant’s absence at the hearing when the witness was questioned, not confronting the applicant with the witness and the fact that the witnesses who were not heard before the court being determinative of the decision, were a violation of Article 6 together with Article 6/3c and d of the Convention.”