The European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) demanded a defence from Turkey on the arrest of İhsan Yaşar and Mehmet Ali Çelebi, two journalists from Özgürlükçü Demokrasi newspaper in Turkey, reported Mezopotamya News Agency.
ECHR accepted the lawyers’ applications regarding the arrest of Çelebi and Yaşar, then requested Turkey’s defence on the detention of the journalists, citing freedom of expression.
The court asked Turkey whether the journalists’ freedom of expression -in terms of the dissemination of information- has been violated and whether the applicants’ deprivation of their liberty was a violation of Article 5/1 of the Convention.
The Turkish Government had appointed a trustee to Özgürlükçü Demokrasi Newspaper in March 2018 and shut the paper down soon after, in July 2018.
In September 2022, Turkey arrested six journalists, including Yaşar and Çelebi, and sued 14 journalists over terrorism charges, reported the Media and Legal Studies Association (MLSA).
Meanwhile, a Turkish court sentenced Engin Eren and 28 other journalists to more than three years in prison for “aiding a terrorist organisation without being its member” on 30 November, reported Expression Interrupted, a website dedicated to tracking legal processes filed against journalists and academics.
According to MLSA research, which monitored 446 hearings of 210 freedom of expression trials in 23 Turkish cities held between September 2021 and July 2022, 143 journalists appeared before the courts over “propagandising for a terrorist organisation”.