Left Movement member Abdullah Korkmazhan, following the complaint filed by Ersin Tatar to the police for his words “The fraudster sought by the British Heavy Fraud Office has been appointed as a President to this country” in the demonstration on 20 March in Nicosia, brought to the court with a demand of a prison sentence of up to 5 years for insulting the President. Korkmazhan, who was sued under Article 47 of the Chapter 154 Criminal Law under the scope of Seditious Secret Alliance and Publications and public swearing, was released with the decision of 25 thousand TL bail and a body proof to the police once a week.
The right to freedom of expression, which is protected in Article 10 of the European Convention on Human Rights and within the framework of local legislation and especially our Constitution, should be carefully protected as the most fundamental human right and one of the cornerstones of democracy. Since the lack of protection of democratic rights may lead the Turkish Cypriot community to an irreversible dark period, we remind that even those who act in disregard of these rights may one day need these rights.
As the Human Rights Platform, the freedom of expression, which is one of the most important components of democracy, which is one of the most important components of the article 47 of the relevant law under which Korkmazhan is tried, and which is protected within the scope of both the European Convention on Human Rights and the case law of the ECHR, is interpreted in a broader framework especially in the criticisms made against politicians. In addition, it is clearly emphasized by the Council of Europe that states should avoid facing the risk of imprisonment by filing criminal proceedings for the statements of individuals. The issue of criminal sanctions and imprisonment, which is considered within the scope of proportionality factor under various judgments under the ECtHR’s case law, deeply injures freedom of expression and increases the risk of self-censorship by creating a culture of fear in societies (See: Lingens v Austria, Lewandowska-Malec v. Poland, Morice v. France). We demand that article 47 that Korkmazhan is tried shall be abolished as it contradicts with the democratic values, is outdated and creates the risk of criminal prosecution due to purely political criticism.
We also invite Mr. Ersin Tatar to stay away from such approaches that have the potential to seriously damage the will of the Turkish Cypriot community and to respect human rights and democracy.
🔻Members of the Human Rights Platform: Queer Cyprus Association, Civil Society Initiative, Refugee Rights Association, Turkish Cypriot Human Rights Foundation, Cyprus Turkish Bar Association – Human Rights Committee
The case brought against Abdullah Korkmazhan is against human rights!