European Court of Human Rights Condemns Turkey for Jailing Kurdish Activist

STRASBOURG (AFP)–Turkey violated free speech after it jailed a pro-Kurdish activist for speaking to the media at a protest supporting the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), the European Court of Human Rights ruled Tuesday.

A Turkish court had sentenced Güler Menteş to 10 months in prison for her involvement in an unauthorized 2000 rally supporting PKK leader Abdullah Öcalan and for speaking to the media in his favor.

Menteş was a member of the People’s Democracy Party (HADEP), before it was disbanded in 2003 by a Turkish high court over its alleged links to the PKK.

The European court said Turkey’s conviction of Menteş did not mention any information that served as the basis for her imprisonment, an assessment that put into doubt Ankara’s respect for the woman’s right to free speech.

This violation of freedom of expression “was unnecessary in a democratic society,” the court said.

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