Georgian TV Journalist Assaulted by Security Services and Deported

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Year 21 Nov 2017 Country Ukraine Category Other acts having chilling effects on media freedom Source of threat State Partner Index , EFJ/IFJ Alert level Level 1
21 Nov 2017 Ukraine Other acts having chilling effects on media freedom State Index , EFJ/IFJ Level 1
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Georgian television channel Rustavi-2 journalist Tamaz Shashvishvili was detained by force in Kyiv on 16 November and deported to Georgia on 17 November 2017. The journalist was detained in an apartment he was renting in Kyiv. Reportedly,15 armed men belonging to the Ukrainian security services stormed his apartment, hit him on the face with a pistol and blindfolded him. On 17 November, Shashvishvili was deported to Georgia via a two-day-long ferry journey from Odessa sea port along with a group of Georgian citizens accused of activities contrary to the interests of Ukrainian national security. SBU rejected the journalist’s claims of violence, stating that it had not beaten the journalist and had not subjected him to inhumane treatment during his deportation. "SBU decided to deport these foreigners on the basis of evidence presented by the State Migration Service and the National Police of Ukraine, which showed that these foreigners acted against the interests of the national security of Ukraine," SBU spokesperson Olena Hitlianska said. Shashvishvili reported on the activities of opposition politician Mikhail Saakashvili in Ukraine.

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20 March 2018

On 20 March 2018, the European Court of Human Rights issued its Grand chamber judgment on Mehmet Altan’s case. The Court found there had been a violation of Article 5 § 1 (right to liberty and security) and a violation of Article 10 (freedom of expression) of the European Convention for Human Rights. With regards to article 5 §1, according to the Court findings, “Mr Altan’s continued pre-trial detention, after the Constitutional Court’s clear and unambiguous judgment of 11 January 2018 (…), could not be regarded as ‘lawful’ ”. The Court held that “for another court to call into question the powers conferred on a constitutional court to give final and binding judgments on individual applications ran counter to the fundamental principles of the rule of law and legal certainty, which (…) were the cornerstones of the guarantees against arbitrariness”. Under Article 10, the Court held in particular that “there was no reason to reach a different conclusion from that of the Constitutional Court, which had found that Mr Altan’s initial and continued pre-trial detention, following his expression of his opinions, constituted a severe measure that could not be regarded as a necessary and proportionate interference in a democratic society”. The Court pointed out in particular that “criticism of governments and publication of information regarded by a country’s leaders as endangering national interests should not attract criminal charges for particularly serious offences such as belonging to or assisting a terrorist organisation, attempting to overthrow the government or the constitutional order or disseminating terrorist propaganda”.

20 March 2018

On 20 March 2018, the European Court of Human Rights issued its Grand chamber judgment on Şahin Alpay’s case. The Court found there had been a violation of Article 5 § 1 (right to liberty and security) and a violation of Article 10 (freedom of expression) of the European Convention for Human Rights. With regards to article 5 §1, according to the Court findings, “Mr Alpay’s continued pre-trial detention, after the Constitutional Court’s clear and unambiguous judgment of 11 January 2018 (…), could not be regarded as ‘lawful’ ”. The Court held that “for another court to call into question the powers conferred on a constitutional court to give final and binding judgments on individual applications ran counter to the fundamental principles of the rule of law and legal certainty, which (…) were the cornerstones of the guarantees against arbitrariness”. Under Article 46 (binding force and execution of judgments) of the Convention, the Court held that it was incumbent on the respondent State to ensure the termination of Mr Alpay’s pre-tria detention at the earliest possible date. Under Article 10, the Court held in particular that “there was no reason to reach a different conclusion from that of the Constitutional Court, which had found that Mr Alpay’s initial and continued pre-trial detention, following his expression of his opinions, constituted a severe measure that could not be regarded as a necessary and proportionate interference in a democratic society”. The Court pointed out in particular that “criticism of governments and publication of information regarded by a country’s leaders as endangering national interests should not attract criminal charges for particularly serious offences such as belonging to or assisting a terrorist organisation, attempting to overthrow the government or the constitutional order or disseminating terrorist propaganda”.
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