Human Rights

MLSA takes the limitation of Nedim Türfent’s meetings with his lawyers up to the Constitutional Court

On January 7, 2022, the Van Judgeship of Execution decided to limit, surveil and record the meetings of Nedim Türfent who has been behind bars since May 13, 2016 because of his journalistic activities. The Legal Team of Media and Law Studies Association (MLSA) takes the decision of the Van Judgeship of Execution to the Constitutional Court of Turkey on the grounds that the decision violates the constitutional rights of Türfent.

In the application filed on March 9, 2022, it is highlighted that Nedim Türfent is an internationally recognized author and poet as well as a journalist who continues to produce news reports and articles which shape the public discourse in Turkey. The application reminds the Court of Türfent’s report on the conditions of prisons during the pandemic and his interview with imprisoned politician Selahattin Demirtaş over letters, both of which influenced and shaped the public discourse.

Arguing that the Court should take into account the fact that Türfent continues produce as a poet and as a journalist despite being in prison, Türfent’s lawyers pointed out that the unforeseen and disproportionate intervention by the Judgeship of Execution violates Türfent’s freedom of expression, freedom of science and the arts, freedom of communication as well as his right to a fair trial.

Background

On January 7, 2022, the Van Judgeship of Execution decided that for three months Nedim Türfent’s meetings with his lawyers be recorded and be monitored by an official. According to the Judgeship’s decision, all the notes, files, documents and document samples exchanged during these meetings will be seized by the Prison Directorate for inspection and the meetings will be limited to working days and will only be held once a week and for an hour. The Judgeship took the decision upon request by  the Van Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office, which examined a note that Türfent’s lawyers handed in to the Prison Directorate for to be delivered to Türfent during a visit on December 7, 2021 and in which scholars from New York University inquired about the possibility of Türfent’s poem sent to them for translation. The Judgeship reasoned that sending out such writings might “compromise the security of the prison.”