Disclaimer
 
22 Oct 2020 Lvl. 2
No state reply yet
Alert created on: 22 Oct 2020 n° 126/2020 Ukraine

Arson Attack on Alternatyva.org Editorial Office

Source of threatUnknown
CategoryHarassment and intimidation of journalists
Partner EFJ/IFJ
No state reply yet
Partner EFJ/IFJ
On the night of 21 October 2020, an arson was committed against the editorial office of the regional media Alternatyva.org in the Odesa Oblast. The National Union of Journalists of Ukraine (NUJU) reported the incident, referring to information from Roman Varshanidze, editor-in-chief of the publication. The journalist said that according to witnesses, two unknown persons broke a window and threw a bottle with a Molotov cocktail into the editorial office. The furniture and floor were burnt as a result, but the editorial office and equipment were saved by the neighbours, who were able to extinguish the flames before the firefighters arrived.

This is the second attack on Alternatyva.org in a week. On 17 October, Roman Varshanidze was beaten while filming by three unknown persons, leaving him with bruises and a concussion.
Open in a new window show-link
22 Oct 2020 Lvl. 2
No state reply yet
Alert created on: 22 Oct 2020 n° 126/2020 Hungary

Civil Court Gags Investigative Report under EU Data Privacy Rules

Source of threatState
CategoryOther acts having chilling effects on media freedom
Partner CPJ
No state reply yet
Partner CPJ
On 21 October 2020 a gag order issued by a Budapest court has cited EU data privacy rules to prevent the weekly Magyar Narancs from publishing an article on the soft drinks company Hell Energy and its owners, according to the article written by investigative journalist Ákos Keller-Alánt and news reports. The court based its preliminary injunction on the EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) ), which governs how companies are to protect personal data, and the 15 October issue of Magyar Narancs omitted part of Keller-Alánt’s article. Magyar Narancs said in a statement that the newspaper is challenging the order, noting that Hell Energy’s stature in Hungary and its receipt of state subsidies is of public interest.
Ákos Keller-Alánt told CPJ that he sent 11 questions to the Hell Energy press department to which the company did not respond; instead it asked the court to bar Magyar Narancs from publishing any information related to his questions on data privacy grounds. According to Keller-Alánt, the court’s gag order affects information which is in the public domain through the internet, media reports, and company officials’ own statements, thus creating "a dangerous precedent which will have a chilling effect on investigative journalism in Hungary”. CPJ e-mailed questions to the press department of Hell Energy but received no immediate reply.
The preliminary injunction will expire after 30 days unless Hell Energy files a civil lawsuit, in which case the gag would remain in effect until the suit was resolved, a process which can take years, according to Attila Mráz, a lawyer who is representing Keller-Alánt in the case.
In January, Forbes magazine had been sued by the owners of Hell Energy for disclosing personal data by including them on a list of Hungary’s richest people in its Hungarian edition. Following a preliminary injunction, their identities were removed from the list in the online edition, and the print issue of the magazine that included it was recalled from newsstands.
Open in a new window show-link
22 Oct 2020 Lvl. 2
No state reply yet
Alert created on: 22 Oct 2020 n° 125/2020 Croatia

N1 TV Crew Insulted and Threatened during Interview

Source of threatNon-state
CategoryHarassment and intimidation of journalists
Partner IPI
No state reply yet
Partner IPI
On 14 October 2020, a reporter and camera operator for N1 Croatia were subjected to threats and serious insults as they tried to record an interview with a disease specialist in Zagreb.

The threats were made as N1 journalist Matea Dominikovic and cameraman Ivan Teskera were preparing to interview Professor Alemka Markotić, Director of the Clinic for Infectious Diseases, on COVID-19. As they were filming in an open green area, a young couple with a dog approached them and started shouting aggressively at them for not wearing protective masks. N1 later stressed that the interview was conducted in line with all current health measures about social distancing, and that all individuals were adequately spaced apart in an outdoor environment.

After first making sarcastic comments about the lack of masks, the couple - who were described by Dominikovic as “visibly drunk” at the time – returned and began shouting derogatory insults as the crew was about to deliver the live broadcast. The cameraman repeatedly asked the couple, neither of whom wore masks, to calm down and move back. However, they continued to disrupt the broadcast for another minute. They left the scene after Professor Markotić threatened to call the police.
Open in a new window show-link
21 Oct 2020 Lvl. 2
No state reply yet
Alert created on: 21 Oct 2020 n° 124/2020 United Kingdom

Journalist Patricia Devlin Subject to Threats and Intimidation Despite Police Complaint

Source of threatUnknown
CategoryHarassment and intimidation of journalists
Partner Index Article 19 EFJ/IFJ
No state reply yet
Partner Index Article 19 EFJ/IFJ
In recent months, journalist Patricia Devlin, who reports on organised crime and paramilitary activity in Northern Ireland for the Sunday World, has faced mounting abuse and threats. Since January 2019, Devlin’s personal details - including her e-mail address and social media profiles - have appeared in online forums, where people have been encouraged to troll her. In April 2019, an anonymous Twitter profile posted that she had a “target on her back.” Devlin filed a formal complaint to the Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) after receiving a message via Facebook on 28 October 2019 telling her: “Don’t go near your granny’s… Trisha! - you will watch your new-born get raped”. A location near her grandmother’s home was included in the message. The PSNI launched an investigation, but Devlin was told that the individual she suspected could not be approached until there was more evidence. The PSNI told her in early January 2020 that the necessary evidence was now available.

However, as of October 2020, no suspect has been brought to justice, and Devlin has continued to receive threats and was served two formal notifications from the PSNI that her safety is at risk. She was among the Sunday Life and Sunday World journalists who were warned in May 2020 of imminent threats from loyalist paramilitaries, including of physical attacks and planned car bomb attacks (Platform alert No. 52/2020).

Due to what she feels has been the PSNI's failure to adequately investigate the serious threat to her, her family and press freedom, Devlin filed a complaint to the Police Ombudsman for Northern Ireland in mid-October 2020.
Open in a new window show-link
21 Oct 2020 Lvl. 1
No state reply yet
Alert created on: 21 Oct 2020 n° 123/2020 Russian Federation

Journalist Sergey Plotnikov Abducted, Questioned, Beaten, then Released in Russia’s Far East

Source of threatUnknown
CategoryAttacks on physical safety and integrity of journalists
Partner CPJ Article 19 RSF
No state reply yet
Partner CPJ Article 19 RSF
On 15 October 2020, at about 8 p.m., seven unidentified masked men abducted journalist Sergey Plotnikov on the street near his home in Khabarovsk, drove him to a forest outside the city, beat him up and threatened to kill him, and then abandoned him, according to news reports.
Plotnikov works for RusNews, an independent YouTube-based outlet that has covered recent protests, and which has about 97,000 followers. Protests have been ongoing in the Russian Federation’s far east since 9 July, when the region’s former governor, Sergey Furgal, was arrested for his alleged involvement in murders in the early 2000s.
In the morning of 16 October, Plotnikov filed a complaint to the Khabarovsk Investigative Committee, which opened an investigation into his abduction.
Plotnikov said the men forced him into a minibus, placed him face down on the floor, handcuffed him, and made him unlock his phone. They searched the phone’s contents.
They also questioned him about the recent protests, asking him for information about the organisers and leaders, and demanding that he provide them with information about any future protests. Plotnikov said he maintained that he did not have any inside information regarding the protests and only covered them as a journalist. During the drive out of the city, the men hit and kicked him, giving Plotnikov numerous bruises on his body and abrasions on his head, arms, and body. When they arrived in the forest, the men took Plotnikov out of the vehicle and one shot a gun near his right foot, saying that “next time it would be your head.” The kidnappers took him to a cemetery, returned his phone, took off the handcuffs, and left. Plotnikov then contacted his friends and family.
On 16 and 18 October, Plotnikov received anonymous messages via Telegram from someone who claimed to be among the men who had kidnapped him. The messages insulted the journalist, and said that “things would get worse later” and that he should “look over his shoulder when walking.”
Plotnikov reported the threats to the Investigative Committee and asked to be provided with police protection, as he feared for his life; but no protection has been provided as of today. CPJ emailed the Khabarovsk Investigative Committee for comment, but did not receive any response.
Open in a new window show-link
20 Oct 2020 Lvl. 1
No state reply yet
Alert created on: 20 Oct 2020 n° 122/2020 Italy

Cars of Italian Journalists Claudio Brambilla and Luisa Biella Destroyed in Suspected Arson Attack

Source of threatUnknown
CategoryAttacks on physical safety and integrity of journalists
Partner IPI Article 19 EFJ/IFJ
No state reply yet
Partner IPI Article 19 EFJ/IFJ
On 12 October 2020, two cars belonging to journalists Claudio Brambilla and Luisa Biella were destroyed in a suspected arson attack. Claudio Brambilla is the editor and director of the local online news outlet Merateonline and his partner, Luisa Biella, is a journalist at the newspaper. The publication reported that the fire was likely started from a “malicious origin”. Brambilla said he thought it was “beyond any doubt” that the fire had been started on purpose but had no idea who was behind the attack. The outlet publishes investigative stories and is critical of local officials. However, Brambilla said he could not be sure the alleged attack was due to the newspaper’s reporting. Merateonline has been the target of intimidation from unknown individuals before. The fire began at around 8pm and Brambilla saw the blaze from the window shortly after. Fire fighters attended the scene and battled to extinguish the blaze. Brambilla had been visiting his partner’s house in in Sartirana Lomellina, a village in the Pavia province of Lombardy. Their vehicles, a Porsche Macan and a Dodge Nitro, were completely destroyed. The cars had been parked side by side in a street near Biella’s property. Brambilla’s vehicle caught on fire first and it the spread to the other car. The carabinieri of the local Merate Station attended the scene. Investigations are being coordinated by the Lecco Public Prosecutor's Office. The Lombard Association of Journalists expressed solidarity with its colleagues and called on the authorities to work to identify those responsible.
Open in a new window show-link
20 Oct 2020 Lvl. 2
No state reply yet
Alert created on: 20 Oct 2020 n° 123/2020 Sweden

Two Journalists Prosecuted for Investigative Documentary on 'MS Estonia'

Source of threatState
CategoryHarassment and intimidation of journalists
Partner EFJ/IFJ CPJ ECPMF
No state reply yet
Partner EFJ/IFJ CPJ ECPMF
Journalist Henrik Evertsson and camera operator Linus Andersson are being prosecuted by Swedish authorities for violating the burial site of the MS Estonia. They produced a series of documentary ("Estonia: the discovery that changes everything") which investigates the sinking of the cruise ferry the 'MS Estonia'. The ship had sunk in 1994, killing 852 people, and contains the remains of hundreds of corpses. The series was broadcast on 28 September 2020.

The film team used a remotely-operated camera attached to an underwater vehicle, thereby finding evidence of a four-metre hole which contradicts the official explanation of the disaster. Neither the team nor the camera went inside the wreck.

The trial is due to begin in Gothenburg in January 2021, Evertsson and Andersson are facing a two-year prison sentence. The Swedish authorities also tried to confiscate the film, but without success.
Open in a new window show-link
20 Oct 2020 Lvl. 1
No state reply yet
Alert created on: 27 Aug 2020 n° 99/2020 Russian Federation

Russian Journalists Aleksandr Dorogov and Yan Katelevskiy Imprisoned, Beaten During Arrests and Detention

2 Journalists in detention
Source of threatState
CategoryDetention and imprisonment of journalists
Partner CPJ EFJ/IFJ RSF
No state reply yet
Partner CPJ EFJ/IFJ RSF
In the early hours of 29 July 2020, police in Mosrentgen, near Moscow, beat and arrested Aleksandr Dorogov and Yan Katelevskiy, deputy chief editors of the independent investigative website Rosderzhava, according to the journalists’ lawyers Konstantin Barkovskiy and Olga Balabanova. Both journalists have been charged with extortion, an offence carrying up to 15 years in prison under the Criminal Code, and authorities also charged Katelevskiy with property damage and Dorogov with hooliganism. If convicted of these charges, Katelevskiy could face up to five years in prison, and Dorogov could face up to seven years in prison. According to their lawyers, both journalists deny the charges and believe the arrests are retaliation for their work, in particular a recent investigation into alleged corruption between funeral businesses and senior police officials.
According to Barkovskiy, authorities had charged Dorogov with extortion as early as 14 July, and the Tverskoi District Court of Moscow had placed him under house arrest on 28 July, but neither the journalist nor his lawyer had been informed. The Central Administrative District of the Ministry of Internal Affairs also charged Dorogov with hooliganism on 20 August. According to Balabanova, Katelevskiy was charged with property damage before the Ramenskiy City Court of the Moscow Region on 30 July. On 17 August, the Lyuberetskiy City Court of the Moscow Region released the journalist into house arrest, but police detained him again immediately, and charged him with extortion. On 19 August, the Ramenskiy court ruled to keep Katelevskiy in pre-trial detention until 17 October.
The extortion charges against Dorogov and Katelevskiy stem from a 21 May 2020 complaint filed by a traffic police officer, alleging that he paid the journalists 1,300,000 rubles (€14,500) to stop them from publishing YouTube videos mocking and criticising him, according to news reports. The property damage charge against Katelevskiy stems from an August 2019 incident in which Katelevskiy and Dorogov were accused of damaging someone’s car, with the car owner claiming 85,000 rubles (€950) in damages in a complaint, Balabanova said. The hooliganism charge against Dorogov originates in a Spring 2019 incident, when the employees of a company that Dorogov was investigating attacked him, before accusing him of attacking them. According to Barkovskiy, the journalist maintains his innocence and claims to have acted in self-defense.
Currently, Dorogov is detained at the Yegoryevsk detention center, Katelevskiy at the Kolomna detention center. Balabanova said that in detention, police threw Katelevskiy on the floor, handcuffed him, and punched him in the head, making him deaf on one ear. Barkovskiy reported that police punched, kicked, and pushed Dorogov against the wall, possibly giving him a concussion. The journalist was also beaten by his cellmates on 10 August. Barkovskiy told CPJ he visited Dorogov in detention on 20 August, and said that the journalist limped on one leg, had a bruise under his left eye, a large bruise on his left shoulder, a torn ear, and complained of strong pain in his ribs and dizziness. He added that following the complaint he filed, the Public Monitoring Commission for the Moscow Region visited Dorogov in detention and documented his injuries. On 25 August, a member of the Public Monitoring Commission told CPJ that the commission confirmed that Dorogov had been attacked, and filed a report to the Yegoryevsk Investigative Department of the Investigative Committee of the Russian Federation and to the Yegoryevsk Prosecutor’s Office for further investigation.
Rosderzhava publishes reports on alleged corruption among law enforcement officials, focusing on the Moscow region. Dorogov and Katelevskiy also have blogs on YouTube, where they frequently talk about alleged police misconduct: Dorogov’s channel, Prikluchenie Dorogova i Ego Druzei, has over 56,000 subscribers; Katelevskiy’s, Ya.N, had over 300,000 subscribers. According to Balabanova, Ya.N was taken down after Katelevskiy’s arrest, and police confiscated the journalist’s work equipment, possibly gaining access to social network accounts and cloud storage. She filed a complaint with the Yegorevsk Investigative Department of the Investigative Committee of the Russian Federation on excessive use of force by the police during the journalists’ arrests.
CPJ emailed the Lyuberetskiy and Ramenskiy courts and the Main Directorate of the Ministry of Internal Affairs for the Moscow Region for comment, but did not receive any responses.
Updates
New 20 Oct 2020
On 14 October 2020, the Serpukhov City Court extended Yan Katelevskiy’s period of pre-trial detention until January 2021.
Journalists in detention

Currently in detention (2):

Aleksandr Dorogov, Yan Katelevskiy
Open in a new window show-link
14 Oct 2020 Lvl. 2
No state reply yet
Alert created on: 14 Oct 2020 n° 120/2020 Italy

Italian Journalist Saverio Tommasi Insulted and Threatened by Anti-face Mask Protesters in Rome

Source of threatNon-state
CategoryHarassment and intimidation of journalists
Partner IPI EFJ/IFJ
No state reply yet
Partner IPI EFJ/IFJ
On 10 October 2020, Saverio Tommasi, a journalist with the news website Fanpage.it, was insulted and threatened by anti-face mask protesters as he was reporting from a demonstration in Rome. Video footage shows protesters, the majority of whom were not wearing masks, shouting at Tommasi as he walked through the crowd outside Basilica di San Giovanni. He was sworn at, targeted with death threats, and a man screamed at him: "You piece of s***, you'll die shot”. The crowd then chanted “fool” and “clown” at him. An interviewee tried to angrily take the microphone out of his hand and another man tried to forcefully remove him from the area. Tommasi was eventually escorted away by the police.

According to his employer, the demonstration was attended by members of the No Mask group, who refuse to wear protective face masks during the Covid-19 pandemic, and anti-vaccine and anti-5G protesters. They had gathered to protest against the mandatory use of face masks and a new rule that puts the wearing of face masks outdoors mandatory under a fine of up to €1,000. The National Federation of the Italian Press (FNSI) condemned the threats and said it would report the incident to the Ministry of the Interior’s observatory on threatened journalists. It was joined by the Unified Union of Journalists of Campania.
Open in a new window show-link
13 Oct 2020 Lvl. 1
No state reply yet
Alert created on: 13 Oct 2020 n° 117/2020 Turkey

Turkish News Agency Office Raided and Four Journalists Detained

4 Journalists in detention
Source of threatState
CategoryDetention and imprisonment of journalists
Partner IPI Article 19 EFJ/IFJ
No state reply yet
Partner IPI Article 19 EFJ/IFJ
On 5 October 2020, police in the Turkish province of Van raided the local offices of the Mezopotamya Agency (MA) and the houses of four journalists. The early morning raids led to the detention of MA reporters Adnan Bilen and Cemil Uğur. Two media workers for Jinnews, reporter Şehriban Abi and journalist Nazan Sala, were also detained. MA reported that police seized cameras and other technical journalistic equipment during the searches on their homes. The raid allegedly stemmed from MA’s reporting on alleged human rights abuses by soldiers in Van, a Kurdish majority province in the east of the country. Cemil Uğur had followed the case closely for weeks and revealed that medical documents and reports showed that the soldiers had dropped two civilians from a helicopter, which led to the death of one person. Lawyers for the victim’s family have lodged criminal complaints of deliberate injury", "attempt to kill deliberately", "misconduct" and "torture". The Governor's Office of Van announced that a legal and administrative investigation had been launched. On 1st October, the Public Prosecutor’s Office imposed a publication and broadcasting ban on the incident. Beginning on 16 September, Uğur began to reveal information in MA from hospital reports and documents signed by a brain and neurosurgery specialist doctor which confirmed claims of torture and that the civilians had fallen from “a high place”. Uğur reported that the documents verified claims that the pair were thrown from a helicopter. On 7 October, the journalists’ detention period was extended for another four days, according to MA. On 8 October, the four journalists were referred to court by the prosecutor's office to be arrested on charge of "membership of a terrorist organisation.". On 9 October, the court has ruled they shall be arrested.
Journalists in detention

Currently in detention (4):

Adnan Bilen, Cemil Uğur, Nazan Sala, Şehriban Abi
Open in a new window show-link
09 Oct 2020 Lvl. 1
State replied
Alert created on: 17 Oct 2017 n° 120/2017 Malta

Investigative Journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia Killed by Car Bomb

Source of threatUnknown
CategoryImpunity for murder
Partner EFJ/IFJ Article 19 AEJ CPJ Index IPI PEN RPT RSF
Partner EFJ/IFJ Article 19 AEJ CPJ Index IPI PEN RPT RSF
Maltese investigative journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia has been murdered on 16 October 2017, around 3pm, by a car bomb in the town of Bidnija, near her family home. Daphne Caruana Galizia, 53, was known for her investigative journalism and her blog 'Running Commentary', which was one of the most widely read websites in Malta. In 2016, she was named by Politico as one of the “28 people who are shaping, shaking and stirring Europe”, after being the first to break news of Maltese politicians’ involvement in the Panama Papers scandal.

The journalist had been sued many times for her blog posts in which she revealed several alleged corruption scandals involving Maltese politicians. In February 2017, her bank accounts were frozen and libel suits were filed against her by Maltese Economy Minister and his consultant, following a report revealing that both men visited a brothel during an official trip in Germany.

According to media report, Daphne Caruana Galizia had filed a police report 15 days before her death saying she was being threatened.
Updates
New 09 Oct 2020
Early September 2020, the board of the public inquiry into Daphne Caruana Galizia’s killing was informed by the Maltese PM Robert Abela that he was granting a one-time extension of the deadline to 15 December 2020. A number of media freedom organisations, the family foundation as well as the PACE rapporteur criticised the decision to impose a time limit as ‘political interference’. In reaction to this, the inquiry board indicated that it intended to carry on with its work until ‘the proper fulfilment” of its terms of reference.
28 Nov 2019
On 26 November 2019, Keith Schembri, the Maltese prime minister’s chief of staff and Konrad Mizzi, the country’s tourism minister, have resigned following the political turmoil surrounding the latest developments in the investigation into the murder of journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia. On the same day, Economy Minister Chris Cardona announced he was "suspending himself with immediate effect from his position as minister, pending the investigations”. Schembri’s resignation followed reports that Yorgen Fenech, the businessman arrested on 20 November in connection with the murder was preparing to make allegations against Schembri. According to media reports, Keith Schembri was taken to police headquarters for questioning in relation to the case, and police entered one of his properties. Mr Fenech was released on police bail without charge for the third time in a week on 26 November. He is seeking a pardon in exchange for further information about the crimes.
21 Nov 2019
On 20 November 2019, Malta police arrested Yorgen Fenech, one of the country’s most prominent businessmen, as part of an investigation into the murder of journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia. Fenech was detained after his yacht was intercepted and searched.
18 Nov 2019
On 15 November 2019, the Government announced that two members of the public inquiry into the assassination of Daphne Caruana Galizia were replaced following the concerns about their impartiality raised by the late journalist’s family.
31 Oct 2019
On 31 October 2019, the partner organisations of the Platform decided to transfer this alert to the category of ‘impunity for murder’, based on their assessment of the lack of sufficient progress in the investigation of this case.
23 Sep 2019
On 20 September 2019, the Maltese government ordered a public inquiry into the murder of journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia, following up on a June 2019 PACE resolution demanding the setting up of an independent public inquiry into her death within three months.
17 Jul 2019
On 16 July 2019, three suspects were formally charged over the murder of Daphne Caruana Galizia. Brothers Alfred and George Degiorgio, as well as Vince Muscat, were arrested in December 2017. The public prosecutor now has 20 months to set a date for the trial.
12 Jul 2019
On 11 July 2019, at the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office’s Global Media Freedom conference in London, the Minister for Foreign Affairs of Malta Carmelo Abela, responding to the demand of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe to set up an independent public inquiry into the murder of journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia, confirmed that the government will open such an inquiry within the next three months.
06 Dec 2017
On 4 December 2017 the Maltese police arrested ten suspects over the murder of Daphne Caruana Galizia. On 5 December, three of them were charged with the journalist`s murder, as well as with criminal use of explosives, being involved in organised crime, and criminal conspiracy.
State replies
17 Oct 2017
Follow-ups
09 Oct 2020
New PACE Rapporteur expresses "serious concern" about the possibility to set a time limit to the public inquiry int the assassination of Daphne Caruana Galizia.
02 Dec 2019
OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media welcomes new indictment in murder case of Maltese journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia
29 Nov 2019
Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights urges the Maltese government to ensure the independence of the investigation into the murder of Daphne Caruana Galizia
17 Oct 2019
“The Government of Malta remains far behind in its obligation to ensure that investigations in the murder of Daphne Caruana Galizia are conducted in a prompt, effective, independent and impartial manner” said Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights, OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media, UN Special Rapporteur on the Right to Freedom of Opinion and Expression and UN Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions on the occasion of the anniversary of the journalist's murder.
04 Oct 2019
PACE Committee on Legal Affairs and Human Rights invites the Maltese authorities to address the issues raised by Rapporteur Pieter Omtzigt concerning the terms of reference for the independent public inquiry as a matter of urgency.
04 Oct 2019
PACE Rapporteur considers that "Daphne Caruana Galizia inquiry in Malta ‘does not meet the Assembly’s expectations’ ". Statement by Pieter Omtzigt
23 Sep 2019
PACE rapporteur on the assassination of Daphne Caruana Galizia and the rule of law in Malta welcomes decision to set up inquiry into the assassination of Daphne Caruana Galizia.
23 Sep 2019
Public inquiry into death of Daphne Caruana Galizia in Malta must be fully independent and yield justice, states OSCE Media Freedom Representative.
27 Jun 2019
On 26 June 2019, PACE adopted the resolution on Daphne Caruana Galizia’s assassination and demanded the setting up of an independent public inquiry into her death within three months.
27 Jun 2018
Pieter Omtzigt, who is preparing a report for the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) on the investigation into the assassination of Daphne Caruana Galizia and the rule of law in Malta, has been authorised by PACE’s Legal Affairs Committee to receive information from anonymous sources and to protect the identity of anyone who provides such information.
24 Apr 2018
PACE to monitor investigation into the assassination of Daphne Caruana Galizia
25 Jan 2018
PACE adopts a motion for a resolution 'Daphne Caruana Galizia’s assassination and the rule of law, in Malta and beyond: ensuring that the whole truth emerges'
25 Jan 2018
PACE appointed General Rapporteur on Media Freedom & the protection of journalists will make his first inquiry into the murder of Maltese journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia.
18 Oct 2017
APCE president strongly condemns the murder of Maltese journalist Daphne Caruana
17 Oct 2017
Shocked by the murder of journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia, the Commissioner for Human Rights calls on authorities to thoroughly investigate the case.
17 Oct 2017
CoE Secretary General appalled by the brutal death of Maltese journalist and blogger Daphne Caruana Galizia, in a car bombing, calls for a thorough investigation to find those responsible for her death.
17 Oct 2017
OSCE media freedom representative outraged by killing of prominent journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia in Malta, urges thorough investigation'
Relevant CoE instruments Disclaimer
Disclaimer
Freelancers

Key information :

Daphne Caruana Galizia

Independent Journalist and Blogger, known for her reporting on corruption and the political situation in Malta. Her blog "Running Commentary" was one of the most visited websites in the country.
Open in a new window show-link
08 Oct 2020 Lvl. 2
State replied
Alert created on: 12 Apr 2016 n° 46/2016 Montenegro

Freelance Journalist and Fixer Jovo Martinović Tried for “Being a Member of a Criminal Organization”

Source of threatState
CategoryDetention and imprisonment of journalists
Partner RSF Article 19 CPJ ECPMF EFJ/IFJ
Partner RSF Article 19 CPJ ECPMF EFJ/IFJ
Mr. Jovo Martinović worked as a non-exclusive part-time fixer for a French documentary film “The Route of the Kalashnikov”, aired in France on Canal+ on 4 January 2016. The film examines the illegal flow of weapons from Balkans. Part of Mr. Martinović job involved helping trace underground weapons networks and included interacting with members of these criminal groups in the Balkans. Mr. Martinović was arrested on 22 October 2015 in relation to this assignment. He is accused of being a member of a criminal organization and of trafficking drug. The arrest warrant was issued by High court in Podgorica after the request of the Special State Prosecutor's office. On 12 April 2016, he still was in custody, waiting for his indictment and trial. Mr. Martinović has worked with several international media outlets including The Economist (UK), the Financial Times (UK) and M6 (France).
Updates
New 08 Oct 2020
On 8 October 2020, Jovo Martinović was sentenced by the High Court in Podgorica to one year in prison for drug trafficking. He was acquitted of the charges of membership in a criminal organisation. The journalist will not return to prison as he already spent 14 and a half months in detention. Reporters Without Borders reacted to the verdict calling it a “black day for media freedom in Montenegro”. Jovo Martinović announced an appeal, calling the decision “shameful and politically motivated”.
New 22 Sep 2020
On 15 September 2020, the High Court of Podgorica concluded the retrial of Jovo Martinović and announced that the verdict would be announced on 8 October.
04 Nov 2019
On 24 October 2019, the Court of Appeal in Podgorica quashed journalist Jovo Martinović’s 18-month jail sentence, stating that the prosecution failed to prove that he committed any crime or to produce enough hard evidence to justify a prison sentence. His retrial is expected to start within a few weeks.
15 Jan 2019
On 15 January 2019, the Higher Court in Podgorica sentenced Jovo Martinovic to 1.5 years in prison for alleged “drug trafficking and membership in a criminal organisation”. The journalist rejected the charges which he considers politically motivated. The verdict was condemned by international media freedom organisations and organisations of journalists. Jovo Martinovic announced that he would appeal the verdict.
09 Jan 2017
On 5 January 2017, journalist Jovo Martinović was released pending trial. The Court ordered Martinović to check in with police twice a month, and confiscated his passport. As a consequence, the alert was changed to level 2.
State replies
07 Dec 2016
Reply from Montenegro provided by the Ministry of Justice
Follow-ups
09 Jan 2017
OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media welcomes release of Montenegrin journalist and calls for conclusion of his case
Freelancers

Key information :

Jovo Martinovic

A freelancer journalist whose work has often focused organised crime in the Balkans. Martinovic has worked with several international publications including The Economist, Newsday, Global Post, The Financial Times and VICE, in addition to winning several international awards.
Open in a new window show-link
08 Oct 2020 Lvl. 2
No state reply yet
Alert created on: 08 Oct 2020 n° 117/2020 France

Five Journalists Held in Police Custody

Source of threatState
CategoryDetention and imprisonment of journalists
Partner EFJ/IFJ RSF
No state reply yet
Partner EFJ/IFJ RSF
On 3 October 2020, during the "March on the airports" led by environmental activists on the tarmac of Roissy-Charles de Gaulle airport, near Paris, the gendarmerie arrested a dozen of journalists. Pending instructions from the prosecutor, they were initially grouped together, separately from the activists. Then the group of journalists was split in two: those holding a press card were released around 1:30 p.m. after having been heard as witnesses, while five journalists who did not have a press card were placed in custody and grouped together with the activists. They were released only in the evening. The French journalists' unions and several journalists' collectives denounced these arrests, recalling that "the freedom to inform and be informed requires the presence of journalists, with or without the card issued by the Commission for the identity card of professional journalists, during demonstrations. We recall that the press card is not compulsory for the exercise of the profession of journalist. "
Open in a new window show-link
07 Oct 2020 Lvl. 1
No state reply yet
Alert created on: 07 Oct 2020 n° 116/2020 Russian Federation

Koza Press Editor-in-Chief Irina Slavina Dies After Self-Immolation

Source of threatUnknown
CategoryAttacks on physical safety and integrity of journalists
Partner EFJ/IFJ IPI RSF
No state reply yet
Partner EFJ/IFJ IPI RSF
On 2 October 2020, Irina Slavina (47), journalist and editor-in-chief of Koza Press online news died after setting herself on fire outside the police headquarters in Nizhny Novgorod, a day after a police raid on her flat. She leaves behind a husband and a daughter. Before her death, she posted on Facebook: “Blame the Russian Federation for my death”.

A day before, she had reported how police raided her flat in search of material related to Open Russia, an organisation founded by the exiled oligarch Mikhail Khodorkovsky. During the search, her and her family’s laptops, cell phones, flash drives, and notes were confiscated. She was also questioned as a witness in a criminal case against a local businessman, Mikhail Iosilevich, for his alleged involvement with Open Russia.

Irina Slavina had been repeatedly prosecuted and fined by the Nizhny Novgorod District Court: 20,000 rubles (€220) for attending an undeclared peaceful march in memory of opposition politician Boris Nemtsov; 70,000 rubles (€760) for “disrespect of the public” over a Facebook post about the unveiling of a Stalin memorial in Shakhunya; 5,000 rubles (€55) for participating in the Free People forum, an event organised by Open Russia. In the latter case, the court rejected that Irina Slavina had attained the event in her capacity as a journalist, and found her involvement in Open Russia established as she had posted the event on her Facebook page. In 2020, Slavina was fined 65,000 rubles (€710) for “deliberately spreading fake news about COVID-19” over an article exposing how the manager of a Soviet martial arts academy had contact with persons, despite carrying the virus.

In a 2 October 2020 statement, the Investigative Committee of the Russian Federation for the Nizhny Novgorod Region confirmed Slavina’s death, a preliminary investigation on site and a posthumous psychiatric and psychological examination. The Investigative Committee also denied reports according to which her death was connected to the raid on her flat, stating that “she was a witness and neither a suspect, nor an accused in the criminal investigation.”

The Russian Union of Journalists have called for a comprehensive and objective investigation into the tragedy. The Journalists’ and Media Workers’ Union requested an investigation into the responsibilities of those who incited Slavina to commit suicide.
Open in a new window show-link
07 Oct 2020 Lvl. 1
State replied
Alert created on: 27 Nov 2015 n° 100/2015 Turkey

Imprisonment of Two Senior Editors of the Turkish Daily Cumhuriyet, Can Dündar and Erdem Gül

Source of threatState
CategoryDetention and imprisonment of journalists
Partner RSF AEJ EFJ/IFJ Index
Partner RSF AEJ EFJ/IFJ Index
On 26 November 2015, at the request of Istanbul prosecutor’s office, Can Dündar, editor of the daily Cumhuriyet and its Ankara representative Erdem Gül were taken before a judge and placed in pre-trial detention on charges of membership of a terrorist organization, espionage and divulging state secrets.

Dündar and Gül were investigated in connection with an article published in May 2015 about allegations that Turkey’s National Intelligence Organization (MIT) had been delivering arms to rebels in Syria. The newspaper produced a video and photos to support the claim.

In June 2015, after Cumhuriyet published the video, President Erdoğan had personally filed a complaint accusing Dündar of spying, and publicly vowed that he would ‘not get away with it.’ Since then, Cumhuriyet and Dündar were being investigated on the basis of a criminal complaint referring to several articles of the Turkish penal code. The imprisonment of the two journalists is additional evidence that the Turkish authorities are suppressing independent journalism in Turkey.

In April 2015, Can Dündar was already the subject of an alert on the Council of Europe platform, regarding his prosecution on charges of insulting Turkey’s President Erdoğan and violating the confidentiality of an investigation. Dündar had published a series of articles about a corruption investigation by prosecutors in which close associates of Mr Erdoğan were implicated.

The high number of lawsuits initiated on behalf of President Erdoğan against journalists critical of the government are consistent with a concerted attempt to intimidate his opponents to remain silent about issues which are manifestly of public interest.
Updates
New 07 Oct 2020
On 7 October 2020, the İstanbul 14th High Criminal Court has formally declared Can Dündar a fugitive and ordered confiscation of his personal assets in Turkey, citing his failure to appear before court in his ongoing trial. Dündar had been granted a period of 15 days to "turn himself in". The Saving Deposit Insurance Fund (TMSF) has been appointed as a trustee by the court to manage the property in question.
New 21 Sep 2020
On 17 September 2020, the Istanbul 14th High criminal court ruled that unless Can Dündar appears in court within 15 days, he will be considered a fugitive and his assets would be seized.
17 May 2019
On 15 May 2019, the Istanbul 14th High criminal court dismissed the case of Erdem Gül as it was opened after the 4 months period prescribed in the Press Law regarding statute of limitations.
17 Jul 2018
On 16 July 2018, the 14th Heavy Penal Court in Istanbul ruled to acquit Erdem Gul of charges of “publishing state secrets”. Her remains on trial in another case over the MIT trucks stories, in which he is charges of ‘helping a terrorist organisation’.
28 Jul 2017
On 28 July 2017, an Istanbul court issued an interim judgment in the trial of 17 Cumhuriyet journalists and executives. This judgment states that the arrest warrant formerly issued against Can Dündar, who is tried in absentia, remains further in effect.
01 Jun 2016
The Istanbul 14th High Criminal Court’s ruling from May 2016 was appealed by the two journalists. The case is pending before the Supreme Court of Appeals. Can Dündar fled the country to seek asylum in Germany. Erdem Gül is waiting for the appeal verdict.
10 May 2016
On 6 May 2016, the Istanbul 14th High Criminal Court convicted Can Dündar and Erdem Gül --the former for ‘obtaining and revealing state secrets’, the latter for ‘revealing state secrets’. They were respectively sentenced to five years and 10 months and five years in prison. Shortly before the Court's decision earlier that day, Dundar survived an attempted shooting where the gunman instead wounded another journalist reporting on the Court case. Both journalists were acquitted of charges of trying to overthrow the government and espionage. But the Court ordered that the charges of “knowingly and willfully” helping a terrorist organization must be separated from the trial in order to await a verdict in a separate case against the two men on charges of supporting terrorist organisations. The Court has also ordered the lifting of the ban on the two journalists’ rights to leave the country and ruled that their political rights, including the right to vote, should be restored.
29 Mar 2016
On 25 March 2016, an Istanbul court ruled for the whole trial of Can Dündar and Erdem Gül to be held in camera. The hearing was adjourned until 1st April 2016.
26 Feb 2016
Can Dündar and Erdem Gül were freed in the early hours of 26 February 2016 after Turkey's Constitutional Court ruled that their detentions had violated their rights.
25 Feb 2016
On 25 February 2016, by a 12-3 vote, the plenary of the Turkish Constitutional Court ruled that Can Dündar and Erdem Gül's right to freedom and security, right to express and disseminate thought, and the freedom of press as guaranteed by Articles 19, 26 and 28 of the Constitution had been violated.
28 Jan 2016
On 27 January 2016, during a court hearing in Istanbul, prosecution demanded “aggravated life imprisonment and imprisonment up to 30 years” for Can Dündar and Erdem Gül.
01 Dec 2015
RSF launches international appeal for release of ​Cumhuriyet journalists
State replies
15 Dec 2015
Statement of the Permanent Representative of Turkey to the Council of Europe to the 1242nd meeting of the Ministrers' Deputies
07 Dec 2015
Response of the Turkish Government (information provided by the Ministry of Justice)
Follow-ups
25 Jul 2017
OSCE media freedom representative calls on Turkey to release imprisoned journalists
13 May 2016
The Council of Europe Secretary General refers to the case of Can Dündar and Erdem Gül in his address to the Committee of Ministers on 11 May 2016.
10 Mar 2016
The Monitoring Committee of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe expresses its serious concern at recent developments in Turkey with respect to restrictions on media freedom and access to pluralistic information, challenges to the decisions of the Constitutional Court.
03 Mar 2016
Secretary General welcomes the release of Can Dündar and Erdem Gül in his address to the Committee of Ministers
26 Feb 2016
Secretary General Jagland welcomes the release of Can Dündar and Erdem Gül.
14 Jan 2016
CoE Secretary General mentions the continuing detention of Can Dündar and Erdem Gül in his allocution to the Committee of Ministers about the outcome of the meeeting of the informal working group on freedom of expression in Turkey
03 Dec 2015
CoE Secretary General focuses on the arrest of Can Dündar and Erdem Gül in his address to the Committee of Ministers
30 Nov 2015
Hürriyet Daily News article quoting the statement by the spokesperson of European Council Secretary General Thorbjørn Jagland
27 Nov 2015
OSCE Representative condemns arrest of journalists Can Dündar and Erdem Gül, urges Turkey not to proceed with charges
27 Nov 2015
Ingebjørg Godskesen and Nataša Vuckovic, co-rapporteurs for PACE’s post-monitoring dialogue with Turkey question arrests of leading journalists
27 Nov 2015
Statement by Nils Muiznieks, CoE Commissioner for Human Rights
Relevant CoE instruments Disclaimer
Disclaimer
Open in a new window show-link
07 Oct 2020 Lvl. 1
No state reply yet
Alert created on: 07 Oct 2020 n° 115/2020 Georgia

At Least 5 Journalists Attacked, Beaten in Run-Up to Parliamentary Elections

Source of threatUnknown
CategoryAttacks on physical safety and integrity of journalists
Partner CPJ
No state reply yet
Partner CPJ
On the evening of 29 September 2020, in Marneuli, unknown assailants attacked a reporting crew for the pro-opposition TV broadcaster Mtavari Channel as police looked on without helping, according to news reports. Assailants also attacked a cameraman for public TV broadcaster Pirveli Arkhi.

Both Mtavari Channel and Pirveli Arkhi had sent film crews to Marneuli to investigate physical altercations between local representatives of the ruling party Georgian Dream and the opposition party United National Movement. According to Mtavari Channel director and lawyer Tamta Muradashvili, the Mtavari Channel crew had just finished filming ongoing clashes outside of the Georgian Dream office when a group of five or six people approached the journalists and began to beat them. The attackers punched correspondent Jeikhun Muhamedali and slammed his head against a tree, causing him to lose consciousness. He was hospitalised and later discharged, though his arm is in a cast and he suffers from stomach pain. Correspondent Bacho Turashvili, cameraman Lasha Gureshidze, and his assistant Nika Darchia were also attacked, and Gureshidze’s equipment was broken. Correspondent Jeikhun Muhamedali was attacked later while reporting.

Pirveli Arkhi correspondent Rusudan Loladze told CPJ that she and cameraman Zaza Baramidze were on their way to report on clashes in the same area. While she stayed in the car, Baramidze got out and began to film the fighting when several people attacked him, breaking his camera. It is unclear if Baramidze was attacked by the same people who carried out the attack on the Mtavari Channel crew. The journalists from both TV companies filed complaints with the police, but so far, no arrests have been made. CPJ contacted Georgia’s Ministry of Internal Affairs, which oversees the police, and Marneuli city hall for comment but did not receive a response.
Open in a new window show-link
06 Oct 2020 Lvl. 2
No state reply yet
Alert created on: 06 Oct 2020 n° 114/2020 Slovenia

Two Journalists from RTV Slovenia Subject to Preliminary Investigation for Violating COVID-19 Restrictions

Source of threatState
CategoryHarassment and intimidation of journalists
Partner CPJ
No state reply yet
Partner CPJ
On 15 September 2020, a uniformed police officer informed Mojca Šetinc Pašek, a reporter and editor at the public broadcaster RTV Slovenia, and Miša Molk, a host on the network, that a criminal complaint had been filed against them. The complaint alleged that Pašek and Molk had organised a 15 July 2020 demonstration that violated Slovenia’s COVID-19 restrictions. The officer said a preliminary investigation was underway, and took brief statements from each journalist, Pašek said. The officer did not disclose who had filed the complaint. The protest, held in the Republic Square in Ljubljana, saw several hundred journalists and media workers demonstrate against policy changes proposed by Prime Minister Janez Janša that critics say might harm RTV Slovenia’s budget and editorial independence. Pašek told CPJ that she and Molk participated in the demonstration but did not organise it.

The organisers of the rally could face criminal charges under the Public Gatherings Act, a misdemeanor listed under Article 50 of Slovenia’s Minor Offenses Act, according to a police statement. If charged and convicted, the accused could face a maximum fine of €400. “Although the procedure was not illegal and the officer’s behaviour was correct, I find the procedure absurd and an attempt to intimidate journalists,” Pašek told CPJ. She said that RTV Slovenia’s legal department is assessing the situation, and the two journalists will file a criminal complaint for alleged false accusation. CPJ emailed questions to the police in Ljubljana but did not receive any reply.
Open in a new window show-link
05 Oct 2020 Lvl. 2
No state reply yet
Alert created on: 08 Jan 2020 n° 3/2020 Belgium

Land Invest Group Had Investigative Journalists Shadowed by Private Detectives

Source of threatNon-state
CategoryOther acts having chilling effects on media freedom
Partner EFJ/IFJ
No state reply yet
Partner EFJ/IFJ
Belgian investigative news website Apache revealed on 9 December 2019 that real estate developer Land Invest Group hired private detectives to shadow some of their journalists. According to Apache, the group would have spent 60,000 euros for the shadowing.

Land Invest Group's decision was allegedly triggered by Apache investigation about the controversial building permit for the Lins Tower at the Tunnelplaats in Antwerp and the close relationship between Antwerp City Hall and top executive Erik Van der Paal of Land Invest Group. Antwerp City Hall is rumoured to have asked the building promotor to build a lucrative high-rise block on a site which would have been sold the same day with millions of euros of profit. These last few years, the developer has filed several lawsuits against the website.

The Flemish Association of Journalists (VVJ) has decided to take legal action against Land Invest Group, qualifying the the shadowing as an unacceptable violation of the journalistic confidentiality of sources and privacy.
Updates
New 05 Oct 2020
On 11 June 2020, following a criminal complaint by Erik Van der Paal over a 2017 article and short film featuring him and local political figures at a party, the Antwerp Council Chamber referred two Apache journalists including editor in chief Karl van den Broek to Criminal Court.
Open in a new window show-link
02 Oct 2020 Lvl. 1
No state reply yet
Alert created on: 02 Oct 2020 n° 113/2020 Sweden

Exiled Turkish Journalist Abdullah Bozkurt Attacked in Stockholm

Source of threatUnknown
CategoryAttacks on physical safety and integrity of journalists
Partner CPJ
No state reply yet
Partner CPJ
On 24 September 2020, three unidentified men attacked Abdullah Bozkurt, a Turkish journalist living in exile, in the street outside his home in Stockholm. One of the men pulled Bozkurt to the ground, and then all three kicked him for several minutes before fleeing the scene, according to the journalist. Bozkurt suffered scrapes and bruises to his face, arms, and legs, and was treated at a local hospital and then released. He filed a report to police following the attack. The police opened an investigation and found witnesses to the incident.

Bozkurt told CPJ that he believes the attackers were the same three unidentified men who, the day before the attack, stood in the street outside his home and shouted for him to come outside because they “wanted to talk.” He had refused to meet them, and instead filmed a video of the men, which he turned over to police following the attack.

Nordic Monitor, a news website that covers Turkish politics where Bozkurt works as executive director, publishes articles critical of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, Turkish diplomats and intelligence agents. Bozkurt stated that he regularly received threats on social media over his coverage of Turkey, including threats to his and his family’s safety, but said that they mainly came from people living in Turkey. He had not received specific threats relating to the attack in Sweden. Bozkurt is under a Turkish arrest warrant for his alleged membership in Gülen movement, which the Turkish government considers to be a terrorist group as well as responsible for the failed 2016 coup attempt. Bozkurt was granted asylum in Sweden in 2016. The Turkish authorities shuttered the pro-Gülen daily newspaper Zaman, where he worked, and the Muhabir news agency, which he co-founded.

In an email to CPJ, a Swedish police representative said that an investigation into the attack was ongoing, and that details could not be released until charges were filed against the suspected perpetrators.
Open in a new window show-link
02 Oct 2020 Lvl. 1
No state reply yet
Alert created on: 23 Jul 2019 n° 85/2019 Russian Federation

Ingushetia Court Orders Two Months of Pre-trial Detention for Journalist Rashid Maysigov

1 Journalist in detention
Source of threatState
CategoryDetention and imprisonment of journalists
Partner CPJ EFJ/IFJ Index RSF
No state reply yet
Partner CPJ EFJ/IFJ Index RSF
On 12 July 2019, in Nazran, Ingushetia within the Russian Federation, agents from the local division of the Federal Security Service (FSB) detained Rashid Maysigov, a reporter for investigative news website Fortanga who also administers the outlet's channel on Telegram, according to his lawyer, Magomed Aushev. Agents detained Maysigov after raiding his home, where they allegedly found drugs and printed materials calling for the unification of Ingushetia with the neighbouring Republic of Georgia. Maysigov told his lawyer that FSB agents took him into custody and interrogated him about his journalism, electrocuted him during questioning, and forced him to confess to possessing drugs, Aushev told CPJ. On 16 July 2019, a Magassky district court formally placed Maysigov under arrest and ordered him to remain in pre-trial detention in jail for two months pending an investigation into alleged illegal drug possession. At Fortanga, Maysigov contributed to reports on alleged corruption, unemployment, and human rights violations in Ingushetia, a representative from the website, who requested anonymity citing fear of reprisal, told CPJ. Maysigov told his employer that the FSB had tapped his phone, and he believed agents were following him, prompting him to suspend his journalism activities in June. Maysigov's lawyer stated that the journalist will appeal the court ruling. On 14 July, Russia's media regulatory agency, Roskomnadzor, blocked Fortanga's website; it was unblocked on 21 July.
Updates
New 02 Oct 2020
On 16 September 2020, the court found Rashid Maysigov guilty of drug possession and sentenced him to three years in a general regime colony. The term of serving the sentence includes arrest from 12 July 2019 as well as detention under house arrest as of 19 November 2019.
12 Dec 2019
In November 2019, Rashid Maysigov was released under house arrest pending trial.
16 Sep 2019
On 6 September 2019, the city court of the city of Magas (Ingushetia) extended the preliminary detention of Rashid Maysigov until 12 October.
Journalists in detention

Currently in detention (1):

Rashid Maysigov
Open in a new window show-link

CONTACT US

Follow us   

Follow-ups to alerts Follow-ups to alerts

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”.

3 August 2017<