Judges are expected to give their decisions tomorrow in human rights cases affecting Malta, Turkey and the United Kingdom.
Mizzi v. Malta (no. 17320/10)
The applicant, John Anthony Mizzi, is a Maltese national who was born in 1925 and lives in Malta. In February 1994 he wrote a letter to The Sunday Times of Malta, a national English-language newspaper, complaining about plans to build a yacht marina in St.Paul’s bay, Xemxija. In the letter, which was published, he mentioned that the late Sir Paul Boffa had given building permission in the bay after the Second World War when he was Prime Minister of Malta because he “wanted to build there”. Relying on Article 10
(freedom of expression),
Mizzi complains about the ensuing court judgment ordering him to pay Sir Paul Boffa’s son 700 euros (EUR).
Erçep v. Turkey (no. 43965/04)
The applicant, Yunus Erçep, is a Turkish national who was born in 1969 and lives in Istanbul. Erçep is a Jehovah’s Witness and a consciencious objector. As such, he refused to do military service. He was called up in 1998, but failed to appear, making him a deserter. Since then he has been called up several times for new periods of military service, which he refuses to do because of his convictions.
He has, however, offered to do substitute civilian service, but there is no provision in Turkish law for that solution. As a result, every time he has refused to be conscripted criminal proceedings have been brought against him before the military court for failure to report for duty, and he has been sentenced to several terms of imprisonment.
In 2006 a law was enacted under which military courts no longer had jurisdiction to try civilians, so the proceedings still pending against the applicant were transferred to the ordinary courts.
Since 1998 more than 25 sets of proceedings have been brought against the applicant and there is a risk that he will continue to be called up and convicted for failure to report for duty in the future. Relying on Article 9 (right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion), he complains about his successive convictions for refusing to report for military service.
Kurt v. Turkey (no. 23164/09)
The applicant, Recep Kurt, is a Turkish national who was born in 1958 and lives in Malatya (Turkey). He is the father of Ekrem Kurt, who was born on 27 August 1986 and died on 6 March 2007 during his military service. In 2006 Ekrem Kurt registered with the recruitment office and underwent the usual medical examination, including a psychological examination by a psychiatrist, who found that he suffered from neurotic disorder but was fit for military service.
Following his military training, Ekrem was recruited into the Gülazi gendarmerie. He was examined by the doctor at the barracks, who found that Ekrem suffered from auditory and visual hallucinations. As a result, he
was not issued with a weapon.
On 6 March 2007 Ekrem was found at his guard post with a serious bullet wound to the head. He could not be saved. Relying on Article 2 of the Convention (right to life), the applicant complains that the authorities failed in their positive obligation to protect his son’s life. He also relies on Article 6 (right of access to a court) and Article 13 (right to an effective remedy) and complains that he was not heard by the prosecutor during the investigation into his son’s death and that there was no effective remedy in Turkish law for his complaints.
Alder v. the United Kingdom (no. 42078/02)
The applicant, Janet Alder, is a British national who lives in Lancashire. The case concerns the death of her brother – of Nigerian origin – in the custody of Humberside police on 1 April 1998 following his arrest for breach of the peace.
She relies on Articles 2 (right to life), 3 (prohibition of inhuman or degrading treatment) and 14 (prohibition of discrimination).