The European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) has just announced its ruling regarding the application it received from journalist and writer-publisher Ragıp Zarakolu, regarding a lawsuit that had been filed against him in Turkey accusing him of “being a member of an organization”. In its decision, ECHR ruled that Articles 5 and 10 of the European Convention on Human Rights regarding his “right to security and freedom” and “freedom of expression” had been violated.
His lawyer, Benan Molu, said in her social media account: “In the application of Ragıp Zarakolu, who was arrested in the Kurdistan Communities Union (KCK) case for giving lectures at the Peace and Democracy Party (BDP) political academies, it is stated that the BDP is a legal political party and that lecturing in the academy cannot be considered a crime. It decided Turkey had violated his freedom of expression. The first violation arose with Articles 5/1 and 10 regarding the KCK cases. Moreover, the evidence was not sufficient for the Turkish Criminal Code (TCK) 314 (‘membership of a terrorist organization’). It decided that the arrest was arbitrary and did not meet the requirement of legality in terms of freedom of expression. ECHR’s case-law on TCK 220/6-7, 301, and 312 in recent years has been applied to 314 for the first time”.
Ragıp Zarakolu was detained on 27 October 2011 as part of the investigation into the political academy of the Peace and Democracy Party (BDP). Zarakolu, who was arrested for teaching at the BDP political academy, was sued for “KCK membership”. He was among sixty people who had been detained as part of an investigation conducted by the İstanbul Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office.
Zarakolu was released on 10 April 2012. Zarakolu, whose case continued in Istanbul 3rd High Criminal Court, had all along stated that there was no concrete evidence for his arrest. He had subsequently applied to the European Court of Human Rights for redress.