The ECHR ruling of February 09, 2021 in the case "Ramazan Demir v. Turkey" (aplication No. 68550/17).
In 2017, the applicant was assisted in the preparation of the aplication. Subsequently, the aplication was communicated to Turkey.
In the case, an aplication was successfully considered for unjustified restriction for security reasons of the prisoner's ability to access Internet sites where legal information is published. The case involved violations of the requirements of article 10 of the Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms.
CIRCUMSTANCES OF THE CASE
The applicant, who was a lawyer and was detained on charges of membership in a terrorist organization and spreading propaganda in favor of a terrorist organization, asked the administration of the place of detention to gain access to the websites of the European Court of Justice, the Constitutional Court of Turkey and the Official Newspaper in order to prepare his defense and training on the cases of his clients. The request was refused.
Regarding compliance with article 10 of the Convention. Since the access of prisoners in Turkey to some Internet sites for the purpose of training or rehabilitation was provided for by Turkish law, restricting the applicant's access to the websites of the European Court of Justice, the Constitutional Court of Turkey and the Official Newspaper, which contained only legal information that was potentially useful for the development and rehabilitation of the applicant in the context of his profession and interests, was an interference with the applicant's right to receive information. This intervention was prescribed by law and pursued the legitimate aim of preventing riots or crimes.
By restricting the applicant's access to the Internet sites in question, the Turkish courts in their decisions seem to have been based mainly on the provisions of Turkish law. However, these courts did not provide sufficient explanations why the applicant's access to the Internet sites in question could not be considered training or rehabilitation if prisoners' access to the Internet was permitted by Turkish law, nor did they explain whether the applicant should have been considered (and if so, why) a prisoner posing a certain danger or belonging to a criminal organization for whom access to the Internet should be restricted on the basis of the same provisions of the law.
No explanation was provided as to why the measures complained of were necessary in light of the legitimate purpose of maintaining order and security in the correctional facility and preventing crimes. In any case, the necessary rules regarding the use of the Internet by prisoners under the supervision of the administration of the place of detention have already been adopted in relation to training and rehabilitation programs for prisoners. Although the security concerns referred to by the Turkish authorities could be considered relevant to the case, the Turkish courts did not carry out any detailed analysis of the security risks that would presumably arise if the applicant had access to the three Internet sites in question, especially since these sites belonged to State authorities and an international organization, and the applicant would have had access to these sites only under the control of the Turkish authorities and under conditions determined by them.
Consequently, the reasons given by the Turkish authorities to justify the application of the appealed measure to the applicant were irrelevant and not sufficient, and the measure itself was not necessary in a democratic society.
The requirements of article 10 of the Convention were violated in the case (adopted unanimously).
By way of application of Article 41 of the Convention, the European Court awarded the applicant 1,500 euros as compensation for non-pecuniary damage.