ECHR judgment of July 16, 2019 in the case of Zulkuf Murat Kahraman v. Turkey (application No. 65808/10).
In 2010, the applicant was assisted in preparing the application. Subsequently, the application was communicated to Turkey.
In the case, the application about the criminal conviction of the applicant for participating in the demonstration was successfully examined, despite the fact that he denied his guilt. The case contained a violation of Article 11 of the Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms.
Circumstances of the case
The applicant was convicted of membership in an illegal organization (PKK) and sentenced to six years and three months in prison after his alleged participation in a demonstration.
QUESTIONS OF LAW
Regarding compliance with article 11 of the Convention. The Government submitted that since the applicant denied having participated in the demonstrations in the domestic courts, he did not explain how his conviction affected his right to freedom of assembly. The applicant’s criminal conviction was undeniably aimed at activities falling within the scope of the right to freedom of assembly, and he was punished for participating in the demonstration. In such circumstances, the applicant's conviction should have been seen as an interference with the exercise of his right to freedom of assembly. To come to a different conclusion would be to require the applicant to acknowledge the actions of which he was charged. In this regard, it was necessary to take into account that the right not to incriminate oneself, although it was not specifically mentioned in article 6 of the Convention, is a universally recognized international standard that underlies the concept of “fair trial”, as enshrined in this article of the Convention. Failure to acknowledge the fact that the criminal conviction was an intervention only insofar as the applicant denied any involvement in the contested events would put him in a hopeless situation and would deprive him of the protection of the Convention.
The European Court has already examined the almost identical complaint in the case of Ishikırık v. Turkey (Işıkırık v. Turkey) (Judgment of the European Court of 17 November 2017, application N 41226/09) and concluded that there had been a violation of Article 11 of the Convention and that that the relevant provisions of the Turkish Penal Code were not “predictable” in their application. There is no indication in the case file that the Court could come to a different conclusion in the present case.
In the case there was a violation of the requirements of Article 11 of the Convention (adopted unanimously).
In application of Article 41 of the Convention. The Court awarded the applicant EUR 7,500 in respect of non-pecuniary damage; the claim for pecuniary damage was rejected.