Turkey’s Constitutional Court ruled that issuing a prison sentence for playing a Kurdish song inside a public transport vehicle wasn’t a violation of the right of expression.
A bus driver named Kadri Pervane was sentenced to two years in prison for playing a song titled ‘Biji’ inside the bus he was driving on 25 May 2012 in Diyarbakır (Amed), on the charge that it constituted the crime of “making propaganda for a terror organisation”.
The driver had a quarrel during the incident with one of the passengers, a police officer who tried to force him to turn off the music.
Upon a criminal complaint by the police officer, Kadri Pervane was prosecuted and a Diyarbakır court later ruled on the case that his act of playing the song ‘Biji’ in the bus constituted the crime of making propaganda for a terrorist organisation. On Pervane’s appeal, the ruling was reviewed and upheld by Turkey’s Supreme Court of Appeals in 2015.
In the same year, Pervane appealed to the Constitutional Court on the grounds that his rights to expression and fair trial were violated.
The Court announced on 30 September that the objections regarding both the violation of the right of expression and the violation of the right to a fair trial were dismissed as they were found to be “clearly groundless.”
The ruling stated that Pervane did not present an argument that required further investigation by the Court, and the two year prison term was “proportionate, met an inevitable social need and didn’t violate the requisites of democratic social order.”