The International Press Institute (IPI) welcomed a European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) ruling yesterday, April 13, finding that Turkey had violated the rights of Ahmet Altan, a prominent writer and journalist with the now-shuttered Taraf newspaper. Altan has been jailed for four-and-a-half years over his alleged links to the now-outlawed Gülen movement and articles critical of the government.
ECtHR found a violation of Article 5 § 1 (lawful arrest or detention), Article 5 § 4 (on account of the lack of access to the investigation file), Article 5 § 5 (right to compensation for unlawful detention) and of Article 10 (freedom of expression) of the European Convention on Human Rights and ruled Turkey to pay 16,000 Euros to Altan in respect of non-pecuniary damage. However, it found no violation of Article 18 (limitation on use of restrictions on rights), which bars states from restricting rights for illegitimate and politically motivated reasons. Judge Kuris, partly dissenting to the Court’s ruling on Article 18, stated that there are clear patterns on accounts of both the Turkish state with repressive measures against the members of the media and the ECtHR which insist on not examining the journalists’ cases under Article 18 and called the Court not to turn blind eye to the whole picture.