Expression Interrupted

Journalists and academics bear the brunt of the massive crackdown on freedom of expression in Turkey. Scores of them are currently subject to criminal investigations or behind bars. This website is dedicated to tracking the legal process against them.

ECtHR rules for rights violations in journalist Abdullah Kılıç’s case

ECtHR rules for rights violations in journalist Abdullah Kılıç’s case

The ECtHR has ruled that Abdullah Kılıç’s “right to liberty and security” and “right to freedom of expression” were violated. The court has ordered Turkey to pay Kılıç 13,375 Euros in damages

The European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) has delivered its judgment on the individual application filed in March 2017 on behalf of Abdullah Kılıç, former Chief Broadcast Coordinator of Habertürk TV. The Court has deemed the arrest and imprisonment of Kılıç as “groundless and arbitrary” and decided that Turkey had violated the right to liberty and security established in Article 5 of the European Convention on Human Rights and the right to freedom of expression established in Article 10 of the Convention. The Court has ordered Turkey to pay Kılıç a total of Euro 13,375 in damages, of which Euro 12,275 is for non-pecuniary damages.

In its unanimous decision, the ECtHR stated that there was no evidence for reasonable suspicion of crime, no rightful justification was provided for Kılıç’s pre-trial detention and that the Constitutional Court had not ruled timely on the case, resulting in the prolongation of the grievance of the applicant. The Court also turned down the local court’s claims about evidence as “clearly lacking in basis,” without further examination.

The ECtHR also pointed out that the panel of judges and the prosecutor who had released Kılıç being removed from office on the same day of the decision stated the following on Kılıç being re-arrested on grounds of another article of the penal code for the same actions: “The court cannot overlook this situation, which would imply permission for breaking the law. In effect, judicial authorities may continue to deprive people of their liberty simply by initiating new penal inquires over the same facts.”

Kılıç was imprisoned pending trial on 29 July 2016 for “membership in a terrorist organization” as part of the investigations launched into media workers under the “FETÖ/PYD” investigations. The İstanbul 25th High Criminal Court decided to release Kılıç at the end of the first hearing in the trial held on 27-31 March 2017, but was re-arrested before being released from prison on charges of undertaking a “coup.” Kılıç was sentenced to 6 years and 3 months of imprisonment in March 2018, but was released from prison in September 2020 after his duration of execution expired.