Trials are political, not legal
Hundreds of journalists in Turkey are in pre-trial detention or remanded in custody on charges related to the organisations or associations they work for. This decision emphasises that the trials have not only a legal but also a political dimension and declares that thought criminals should be released immediately.
3 articles violated
The Court ruled that key articles of the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) had been violated, including the right to a fair trial (Article 6(1)), the principle of no crime or punishment without law (Article 7) and the right to freedom of assembly and association (Article 11).
Bylock use is not a crime under Turkish Penal Code
The decision on the violation of Article 7 of the ECHR, which states that there shall be no crime or punishment without law, stated that the use of ByLock is not included as a crime in the Turkish Penal Code and that “Turkish courts have considered the use of ByLock sufficient to convict for membership of a terrorist organisation and have equated the use of ByLock with knowingly and willingly being a member of an armed terrorist organisation, regardless of the content of the messages”.
Call for a return to the rule of law
The decision states that the Turkish authorities have determined that the number of ByLock users is close to 100,000 and reports that there are around 8,500 complaints against Turkey under Articles 6 and 7.
In view of the systematic problems observed in Turkey’s judicial procedures in relation to terrorism charges, in particular with regard to violations of Articles 6 and 7 of the ECHR, it was stated that Turkey should make corrections under Article 46 of the Convention.
The judgment also noted that the data on the ByLock application had been obtained by the National Intelligence Organisation (MIT), and emphasised that the broad interpretation of the law created an almost automatic presumption of guilt based on the use of ByLock, making it impossible for the applicant to be exonerated of the charges against him.
The Turkish and English versions of the judgment are available here.