ECHR ruling of November 20, 2018 in the case of Gunana (Turkey) (application N 70934/10 and other complaints).
In 2010, complainants were assisted in preparing applications. Subsequently, the applications were communicated to Turkey.
In the case, an application from prisoners of a correctional institution is appealed against the unlawful seizure of their records made during their detention, on the grounds that these records contained propaganda by a terrorist organization. The case has violated the requirements of Article 10 of the Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms.
THE CIRCUMSTANCES OF THE CASE
The applicants, three prisoners, complained about the administration’s withdrawal of the institution (either during the search of the chambers, or during the attempt to hand over the document to the visitor) of the records they had made on the sheets or in the notebook while in custody on the grounds that these records contained propaganda.
QUESTIONS OF RIGHT
Regarding compliance with Article 10 of the Convention. The controversial notes made by the applicants were undoubtedly the result of their freedom of expression. Seizure of the records thus constituted an interference with the applicants' freedom.
None of the provisions of the legislation specified by the Turkish authorities or the administration of the institutions provided for the seizure of the records of persons held in custody under any circumstances. In particular, the provisions of the law, which the authorities of the respondent state regarded as the legal basis for the controversial measures, concerned the receipt and departure of detained persons, letters, faxes or telegrams, and not the seizure of their records, whether during cell searches or during transmission records to the visitor.
Otherwise, the relevant institutions provided various legal grounds for the seizure of the applicants' records, even in similar cases.
In short, the Turkish authorities did not prove the existence in the legal system of the respondent state of a corresponding legal basis for the removal of records belonging to detainees and not having the nature of regular correspondence.
The case was a violation of Article 10 of the Convention (adopted unanimously).
The European Court also unanimously concluded that in respect of one of the applicants there had been a violation of Article 6 § 1 of the Convention.
In application of Article 41 of the Convention. The European Court ordered to pay 2,000 and 1,500 euros, respectively, to the two first applicants in respect of non-pecuniary damage (the third applicant's claim was made with a violation of the deadline), and the claim for compensation for material damage was rejected.