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23 Jul 2019 Lvl. 1
No state reply yet
Alert created on: 23 Jul 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 Index
No state reply yet
Partner CPJ Index
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.
Journalists in detention

Currently in detention (1):

Rashid Maysigov
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22 Jul 2019 Lvl. 2
No state reply yet
Alert created on: 22 Jul 2019 Bulgaria

Reporters Atanas Tchobanov and Asen Yordanov Subjected to Judicial Probe

Source of threatState
CategoryHarassment and intimidation of journalists
Partner RSF
No state reply yet
Partner RSF
In June 2019, the Bulgarian Prosecution Office opened an investigation on journalists Atanas Tchobanov and Asen Yordanov, who work for the independent news website Bivol. The timing and subject of the investigation suggest that it might come as a retaliatory measure in response to their reporting in March 2019 on a real estate scandal involving government officials, including Prosecutor-General Sotir Tzatsarov. Tchobanov and Yordanov are being accused of being themselves involved in a real-estate scandal. The investigation started after a report was published by the anti-corruption NGO BOETS. However, BOETS denied issuing such a report, and claimed it was falsified. Following the accusations against them, Tchobanov and Yordanov published documents that disproved these accusations. When they requested more details about the investigation and its justifications, the journalists received no response, even after Reporters Without Borders had filed similar requests. Reporter Without Borders is concerned that this investigation might be a measure of intimidation to deter journalists from reporting on the scandal the two journalists revealed.
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22 Jul 2019 Lvl. 1
No state reply yet
Alert created on: 22 Jul 2019 Germany

WDR Journalist Georg Restle Receives Death Threat After Criticising Right-Wing Party AfD

Source of threatUnknown
CategoryAttacks on physical safety and integrity of journalists
Partner EFJ/IFJ
No state reply yet
Partner EFJ/IFJ
After a critical comment on the German right wing party "Alternative für Deutschland" (AfD), investigative journalist Georg Restle became victime of online harassment culminating in a death threat received by letter. On 11 July 2019, Restle had described the AfD as the "parliamentary arm of a right-wing extremist movement" in a commentary at the news broadcast "Tagesthemen". He was referring to the "Identitäre Bewegung", an organisation recently classified as a "right-wing extremist movement" by the German Office for the Protection of the Constitution. In the statement, he demands the AfD to be classified as right-wing extremist, too. As a reaction to the commentary, Restle faced harsh criticism on social media and from the AfD itself. Party leader Jörg Meuthen called Restle an "enemy of democracy" and freedom of expression during a speech in Cottbus. His employer, the public service broadcaster "Westdeutscher Rundfunk" (WDR) has filed a criminal complaint.
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19 Jul 2019 Lvl. 1
No state reply yet
Alert created on: 19 Jul 2019 Serbia

N1 TV Reporter in Kosovo Zana Cimili Received Death Threats

Source of threatUnknown
CategoryHarassment and intimidation of journalists
Partner EFJ/IFJ
No state reply yet
Partner EFJ/IFJ
On 4 July 2019, Zana Cimili, a correspondent for TV Channel N1 in Kosovo, received death threats on social network, including against her daughter. The anonymous person said he had "a life desire to kill an Albanian, even an Albanian child," and he hoped "for a new war in Kosovo during which the Albanians will feel Serbian rage." On 6 July 2019, a Serbian national was arrested by Serbia’s police regarding this case, over “spreading of religious and national hatred and imperil safety”, N1 reported. A court placed the suspect under house arrest and banned him from using the Internet.
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19 Jul 2019 Lvl. 2
State replied
Alert created on: 25 Aug 2015 Georgia

Georgian TV Channel Rustavi 2 Faces Crippling Court Measures in Civil Case

Source of threatState
CategoryOther acts having chilling effects on media freedom
Partner EFJ/IFJ AEJ
Partner EFJ/IFJ AEJ
On 5 August 2015, the Tbilisi City Court issued an order freezing the assets of the country’s largest private media outlet, the television channel Rustavi 2, as an interim measure pending a verdict. The court order concerns a civil lawsuit lodged by Kibar Khalvashi, a local businessman, to recover shares he claims he was forced to give up in 2006.
According to the Independent Association of Georgian Journalists (IAGJ), between 2004 and 2012, Rustavi 2 changed owners approximately 20 times, often in controversial deals involving people with close links to ex-President Mikheil Saakashvili. The TV channel, which is now the only major channel perceived to be close to the opposition, is facing excessive legal threats: over a hundred journalists may lose their jobs and news programs may be suspended.
The court decision, based on an ownership dispute, is disproportionate and may negatively affect media pluralism in Georgia. The journalists’ organisations call on the Georgian authorities to ensure a transparent and fair process in handling the case, without any interference from politically affiliated groups.
Updates
New 19 Jul 2019
On 19 July 2019, former Defence Minister of Georgia Irakli Okruashvili filed a lawsuit against Kibar Khalvashi before the Tbilisi City Court, claiming legal ownership of Rustavi 2 and requesting sequestration of the company shares that were registered on Kibar Khalvashi on 18 July 2019.
New 18 Jul 2019
On 18 July 2019, the European Court of Human Rights upheld the verdicts of the Georgian courts and allowed the return of the Rustavi 2 shares to its former owner Kibar Khalvashi. Accordingly, the Georgian Public Registry Agency has registered the shares on the name of Kibar Khalvashi.
07 May 2019
On 6 May 2019, Nino Nizharadze, owner of 9% of shares of Rustavi 2, filed a lawsuit requesting GEL 28 million (€8.7 million) compensation for damage allegedly incurred to the company by the controlling shareholders and the director general. According to Nika Gvaramia, Director general of Rustavi 2 TV, this new lawsuit against the channel may ‘kill its editorial policy".
17 May 2017
On 7 March 2017, the European Court of Human Rights adopted an interim measure asking the Georgian Government to stay the execution of the judgment given by the Supreme Court of Georgia on 2 March 2017 until further notice.
03 Mar 2017
On 2 March 2017, the Supreme Court of Georgia ruled in favour of the former co-owner of Rustavi 2 TV, ordering a change in ownership.
01 Dec 2016
On 10 June 2016, Tbilisi’s Appeals Court upheld a City Court ruling over the transfer of the ownership of the TV station to former owner Kibar Khalvashi. Rustavi’s current owners appealed the decision to the Supreme Court. On 21 November 2016, the three judges of the Supreme Court decided to hand the Rustavi 2 ownership case to the Grand Chamber of the Supreme Court.
State replies
24 Sep 2015
Follow-ups
18 Jul 2019
New On 18 July 2019, the European Court of Human Rights upheld the verdicts of the Georgian courts and allowed the return of the Rustavi 2 shares to its former owner Kibar Khalvashi.
06 Mar 2017
On 3 March 2017, the European Court of Human Rights suspended, under Rule 39 (interim measures), Georgia's Supreme Court’s decision to transfer ownership of Rustavi 2 TV.
03 Mar 2017
OSCE Media Freedom Representative calls the Surpeme Court 's decision a "disappointing move and huge blow to media pluralism in Georgia".
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19 Jul 2019 Lvl. 2
No state reply yet
Alert created on: 07 Mar 2019 Belgium

The Daily Newspaper 'L'Avenir" Locked Out

Source of threatNon-state
CategoryOther acts having chilling effects on media freedom
Partner EFJ/IFJ
No state reply yet
Partner EFJ/IFJ
Following the announcement on Monday 4 March 2019 of a two-day strike to protest the dismissal of three journalists from the regional daily "L'Avenir", the newspaper's management locked out the company. The management decided on Monday evening to deny to the newspaper's journalists access to their work tools: it became impossible for the editorial staff to post articles on the newspaper's official accounts on social networks and on the "L'Avenir" website. On 6 March, even though the editorial staff had voted to resume work, in the morning, the management maintained the ban on access to the newspaper's website and social networks until late in the evening. An agreement was reached shortly before midnight. Journalists' representative organisations denounced the "muzzling" of the editorial staff of "L'Avenir" and the threats to media pluralism and independence. They likened the two-day lockout by the newspaper's management to "plain and simple censorship", undermining the right of "L'Avenir"’s readers to access information.
Updates
New 19 Jul 2019
On 17 July 2019, Journalists from Avenir, Belgium's French-speaking regional daily newspaper, observed a day-long strike in protest against its management's threats to editorial independence. Journalists, members of the Association of Professional Journalists (AJP), are questioning the lack of transparency in the procedure instituted for recruiting a new editor, whose role has still to be defined. Journalists are also concerned that an editorial director position is being continued at the newspaper, in violation of the convention guaranteeing editorial independence, as well as criticising an attempt by the management to bring the editorial staff into line; yesterday by imposing a lockout of the newspaper and today by preventing its delegates from carrying out their work in accordance with existing agreements.
28 Mar 2019
On 26 March 2019, the management of Editions de l’Avenir was auditioned on media freedom by the Parliament of Bruxelles-Wallonie.
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18 Jul 2019 Lvl. 1
No state reply yet
Alert created on: 25 May 2016 Turkey

Criminal Investigation Opened Against Journalists for Solidarity Campaign

1 Journalist in detention
Source of threatState
CategoryDetention and imprisonment of journalists
Partner EFJ/IFJ Article 19 AEJ CPJ Index IPI RSF
No state reply yet
Partner EFJ/IFJ Article 19 AEJ CPJ Index IPI RSF
On 18 May 2016 Turkish judicial authorities opened a criminal investigation against six journalists and trade unionists for participating in a solidarity campaign with the Kurdish daily newspaper Özgür Gündem. The journalists include Ertugrul Mavioglu, Faruk Eren, Ayse Düzkan, Mustafa Sönmez, Melda Onur and Erol Önderoglu.

The Co-Editorship-in-Chief campaign was launched by Özgür Gündem daily on 3 May 2016 for World Press Freedom Day (#WPFD) where up to 16 journalists participated.Requests have been filed for the journalists and trade unionists to testify for articles that are being considered "terrorist propaganda" and an "incitement to crime" which were published whilst they participated in the solidarity campaign.
Updates
New 18 Jul 2019
On 17 July 2019, a Turkish court acquitted Erol Önderoğlu, the Turkey representative for press freedom watchdog Reporters Without Borders (RSF), and journalist Ahmet Nesin of terrorism charges.
04 Apr 2019
On 3 April 2019, the Istanbul 14th High Criminal Court, convicted Faruk Eren, Ertuğrul Mavioğlu, Fehim Işık, Celal Başlangıç, Öncü Akgül, İhsan Çaralan, Celalettin Can and Dilşah Kocakaya to one year and three months on charges related to "terrorist propaganda". Hüseyin Aykol, former editor-in-chief of Özgür Gündem, was sentenced to three years and nine months on similar charges.
28 Feb 2019
On 27 February 2019, the prosecutor asked the court to convict Erol Önderoğlu and co-defendants Şebnem Korur Fincancı and Ahmet Nesin on charges of “terrorist propaganda,” “condoning crime” and “inciting crime”.
30 Jan 2019
On 29 January 2019, Ayşe Düzkan surrendered to authorities to serve an 18-month prison sentence handed down for serving as the symbolic editor-in-chief of Özgür Gündem.
10 Dec 2018
On 30 November 2018, the court of appeal upheld sentences of journalists Ayşe Düzkan, Ragıp Duran, Mehmet Ali Çelebi, Hüseyin Bektaş and Hüseyin Aykol for “terrorism propaganda” in the Özgür Gündem trial.
12 Oct 2018
On 10 October 2018, the Istanbul 13th Heavy Criminal Court adjourned the trial of three defendants (Erol Önderoğlu, Şebnem Korur Fincancı and Ahmet Nesin) for the seventh time in nearly two years to wait for the execution of Ahmet Nesin's arrest warrant. The next hearing is scheduled for 28 January 2019, at which the prosecution is finally expected to present its summing-up and announce the sentences it wants the court to impose. On 11 October 2018, the trial of the other 11 defendants in the case was postponed to 17 January 2019. At the hearing, the Istanbul 23rd Heavy Penal Court ruled to lift the travel ban that had been imposed on Erin Keskin and decided to extend Kemal Sancılı’s detention pending trial.
19 Jan 2018
On 16 January 2018 the 13th High Criminal Court in İstanbul convicted Ragıp Duran, Mehmet Ali Çelebi, Ayşe Düzkan and Hüseyin Bektaş to 18 months in prison for spreading “propaganda for a terrorist organization”. The Court convicted Hüseyin Aykol to three years and nine months.
09 Jun 2017
The fourth hearing in the trial took place at the Istanbul 13th High Criminal Court on 8 June 2017. Önderoğlu and Fincancı were in attendance, while Ahmet Nesin, who is abroad, was not present in the courtroom. The court adjourned the session until 26 December 2017 to wait for the implementation of the arrest order for Nesin and to obtain his defense statement.
01 Jul 2016
On 1 July 2016, Ahmet Nesin was freed. His release is also conditional. Charges against him are still outstanding.
30 Jun 2016
Turkey Human Rights Foundation (TİHV) Chair Şebnem Korur Fincancı, and Reporters Without Borders (RSF) Turkey Representative Erol Önderoğlu, who were arrested on charge of "terrorist propaganda" for participating in Özgür Gündem daily's Editor-in-Chief solidarity campaign were released conditionally on 30 June 2016. Charges are still outstanding and indictments (propagandizing for a [terrorist] organization and praising a crime and criminals) have been accepted by Istanbul 13th Heavy Penal Court. The first hearing is to be held on 11 November 2016.
29 Jun 2016
On 26 June 2016, journalists Nadire Mater, Yıldırım Türker, Tuğrul Eryılmaz and Faruk Balıkçı were the next four editors of Özgür Gündem to be questioned on "terrorist propaganda" charges for participating in the solidarity campaign with the newspaper.
Follow-ups
04 Apr 2019
Sentencing journalists to prison greatly damages media freedom in Turkey, says OSCE Media Freedom Representative.
10 Dec 2018
OSCE Representative is alarmed that Turkey appeals court upheld sentences of journalists Ayşe Düzkan, Ragıp Duran, Mehmet Ali Çelebi, Hüseyin Bektaş and Hüseyin Aykol for “terrorism propaganda” in the Özgür Gündem trial. Journalistic activities and solidarity are not crimes.
20 Apr 2018
OSCE Media Freedom Representative declared that interim decision to prolonge trial of Kurdish newspaper Özgür Gündem editors, including Erol Önderoglu, Ahmet Nesin and Sebnem Korur Fincanci means chilling effect these trials impose on journalists will continue in Turkey and urged for acquittal so they can continue their work freely.
20 Jun 2016
CoE Commissioner for Human Rights appalled by detention of human rights defenders in Turkey will take this up with the authorities.
20 Jun 2016
OSCE Representative appalled by imprisonment of two journalists and a human rights activist in Turkey, urges their release
Journalists in detention

Currently in detention (1):

Ayşe Düzkan
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18 Jul 2019 Lvl. 2
State replied
Alert created on: 05 Jun 2019 Poland

Polish Court Bans Reporter Anna Wilk from Journalism for 3 years in Criminal Libel Suit

Source of threatState
CategoryOther acts having chilling effects on media freedom
Partner CPJ AEJ EFJ/IFJ
Partner CPJ AEJ EFJ/IFJ
On 24 May 2019, a district court in Poznań, in western Poland, ordered Anna Wilk, a reporter for local weekly newspaper Gazeta Powiatowa in the town of Legionowo, to pay damages and a fine totaling US$1,800 and banned her from working in the media or publishing houses as a journalist for three years, according to media news sites Wirtualne Media and Press.pl. The charges were brought against Wilk in a private bill of indictment based on Article 212 of the Polish penal code by Amica, an electric appliances company listed on the Warsaw Stock Exchange, following her reporting in the newspaper and on Facebook on 23 March 2017, about the suicide of a company employee, according to Press.pl. Press.pl reported that the company requested a suspended prison sentence against Wilk; the penal code allows a maximum one-year sentence for criminal libel. In an interview with news site Onet, and in an email to CPJ, Wilk said she would appeal the verdict and vowed to continue her reporting on the complaints of Amica's employees. In an email statement sent to CPJ, Amica's PR manager, Tomasz Pietrzyk, said that in the company's view Wilk's reporting was "unreliable, defamatory and ungrounded," and "not based on any evidence." He added that the company would pursue the case in the hopes that a court of higher instance will affirm the ruling.
State replies
18 Jul 2019
Follow-ups
06 Jun 2019
New OSCE Media Freedom Representative raises serious concerns about banning of journalist Anna Wilk in Poland from practising profession for three years.
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18 Jul 2019 Lvl. 1
State replied
Alert created on: 24 May 2017 Ukraine

Ongoing Impunity in the Case of Killed Journalists Andrea Rocchelli, Andrei Mironov and Wounded Photographer William Roguelon

Source of threatUnknown
CategoryImpunity for murder
Partner RSF AEJ EFJ/IFJ
Partner RSF AEJ EFJ/IFJ
On 24 May 2014, on the Sloviansk southern front, Italian reporter Andrea Rocchelli, accompanied by Russian journalist and human rights activist Andrei Mironov and French photographer William Roguelon, were the victims of mortar fire that killed Rocchelli and Mironov on the spot and inflicted serious leg injuries on Roguelon, who eventually managed to return to France.

These three experienced reporters were in civilian dress and were travelling in a civilian taxi. They had press accreditation and had crossed ten checkpoints prior to the attack. Their presence was known and they could not be mistaken for military personnel or parties to the conflict.

An investigation was launched in Ukraine, which concluded that no evidence exist to find those responsible for this attack. However many evidences and testimonies were not taken into account : William Roguelon, as well as other key witnesses, were never heard, the ballistic test did not manage to draw any useful conclusion. A complaint has been filed also by William Roguelon in France, and by the Rocchelli family in Italy, where there has been considerable progress in the investigation.

Three years have passed since the date journalists were killed and the Ukrainian, French and Italian authorities cannot let this case go unpunished. They must collaborate and take all appropriate action so as the authors of this attack against journalists do not remain unpunished.
Updates
New 18 Jul 2019
On 12 July 2019, an Italian court sentenced Vitaliy Markiv, a volunteer fighter within the Ukrainian forces, to 24 years in detention, over his role in the killing of the Italian photographer. Mr Markiv denied he charges and vowed to appeal the sentence.
17 Jul 2017
On 30 June 2017, Vitaliy Markiv, a 28-year-old Italian-Ukrainian citizen was arrested in Bologna in the framework of the investigation into the death of Andrea Rocchelli.
State replies
13 Jul 2017
Reply from the Government of Ukraine
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17 Jul 2019 Lvl. 1
State replied
Alert created on: 17 Oct 2017 Malta

Investigative Journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia Killed by Car Bomb

Source of threatUnknown
CategoryAttacks on physical safety and integrity of journalists
Partner EFJ/IFJ Article 19 AEJ Index IPI RSF
Partner EFJ/IFJ Article 19 AEJ Index IPI 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 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
27 Jun 2019
New 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'
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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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