ECtHR rules Turkey violated prisoners’ rights by uploading their correspondence to judicial network server

European Court of Human Rights

The European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) has ruled that Turkey violated the right to respect for private life of 14 inmates by uploading their incoming and outgoing correspondence onto the National Judicial Network Server (Ulusal Yargı Ağı Bilişim Sistemi or UYAP).

Applicants Nuh Uzun and 13 other Turkish nationals were detained over alleged links to the Gülen movement and incarcerated in various prisons following a coup attempt in July 2016. Some of them were subsequently released while others are still in jail.

 

A central information system, UYAP covers all judicial institutions and other government departments that have been equipped with computers and given access to all legislation, jurisprudence and judicial records.

“The Court found that the uploading of the correspondence of remand and convicted prisoners onto the UYAP server stemmed directly and specifically from an instruction issued by the Ministry of Justice on 10 October 2016 and reissued on 1 March 2017,” the Strasbourg judges said on Tuesday.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has been targeting followers of the Gülen movement, inspired by Turkish Muslim cleric Fethullah Gülen, since the corruption investigations of December 17-25, 2013, which implicated then-prime minister Erdoğan, his family members and his inner circle.

Dismissing the investigations as a Gülenist coup and conspiracy against his government, Erdoğan designated the movement as a terrorist organization and began to target its members. He intensified the crackdown on the movement following the abortive putsch in 2016 that he accused Gülen of masterminding. Gülen and the movement strongly deny involvement in the coup attempt or any terrorist activity.

A total of 319,587 people have been detained and 99,962 arrested in operations against supporters of the Gülen movement since the coup attempt, Turkey’s Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu said in November.

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