European rights court fines Turkey for preventing inmate’s access to newspaper

The European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) has faulted Turkey for violating the right to freedom of expression of an inmate who was barred by the authorities from having access to a left-wing newspaper in prison, Turkish Minute reported, citing the BBC Turkish.

The court made its decision on Tuesday in the case of Mehmet Çiftçi, who has been held in a high-security prison in Edirne province since 2002 and filed a petition with the court complaining that the left-wing Atılım daily was not given to him in prison. Çiftçi exhausted all domestic legal remedies before filing an application at the Strasbourg-based court. Turkey’s Constitutional Court rejected his application on the grounds that his deprivation of the newspaper was not a rights violation.

However, the ECtHR ruled that Çiftçi’s right to freedom of expression, cited in the 10th article of the European Convention on Human Rights, had been violated and that Turkey pay 1,000 euros to Çiftçi in in non-pecuniary damages.

Article 10 of the convention states: “Everyone has the right to freedom of expression. This right shall include freedom to hold opinions and to receive and impart information and ideas without interference by public authority and regardless of frontiers. This Article shall not prevent States from requiring the licensing of broadcasting, television or cinema enterprises.”

Rights violations in Turkey’s prisons and the denial of anti-government publications to inmates have increased since a failed coup in July 2016, as a result of which the Turkish government has jailed thousands of people on the pretext of an anti-coup fight.

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