Turkey: Prisoners make newspaper language plea to human rights judges

Thirteen prisoners in a Turkish jail want human rights judges to help them access Kurdish-language newspapers while serving their sentences.

The decision of the European Court of Human Rights in the complaint Mesut Yurtsever and Others v. Turkey (nos. 14946/08, 21030/08, 24309/08, 24505/08, 26964/08, 26966/08, 27088/08, 27090//08, 27092/08, 38752/08, 38778/08, and 38807/08) is scheduled for tomorrow, Tuesday 20 January.

The applicants are thirteen Turkish nationals who were detained in the F-type prison in Tekirdağ (Turkey) at the time of the events. Their complaint concerns decisions by the education committee of the Tekirdağ F-type prison not to pass on certain editions of the daily newspaper Azadiya Welat to prisoners.

These decisions, taken in 2007, were based on the Turkish law on the execution of sentences and preventive measures, which provides that no publications containing information, written material, photographs or comments which are obscene or likely to endanger the security of the institution may be given to prisoners.

The committee noted that the publications in question were in Kurdish, a language which none of the prison staff understood and which, moreover, included a number of different dialects; accordingly, it was not possible to arrange for the translation of the editions concerned, or to check whether they satisfied the conditions set out in the aforementioned law.

Relying on Article 10 (freedom of expression), the applicants complain that the authorities refused to give them access to a newspaper because it was written in Kurdish.

They also allege violations of Articles 6 (right to a fair trial), 8 (right to respect for private and family life), 13 (right to an effective remedy), 14 (prohibition of discrimination), 17 (prohibition of abuse of rights) and 18 (limitation on use of restrictions of rights).

Comments are closed.