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Protesting as a Terrorist Offense

Éditeur : Human Rights Watch Date & Lieu : 2010, New York
Préface : Pages : 80
Traduction : ISBN : 1-56432-708-6
Langue : AnglaisFormat : 216x280 mm
Code FIKP : 3519Thème : Politique

Table des Matières Introduction Identité PDF
Protesting as a Terrorist Offense

Protesting as a Terrorist Offense: The Arbitrary Use of Terrorism Laws to Prosecute and Incarcerate Demonstrators in Turkey

In Turkey, many hundreds of people currently face prosecution, or are serving substantial sentences for terrorism convictions. Their “crime” was to engage in peaceful protest, or to throw stones or burn a tire at a protest. Legal amendments since 2005, along with case law since 2008, have allowed courts in Turkey to convict demonstrators under the harshest terrorism laws, by invoking two articles of the Turkish Penal Code in combination with the Anti-Terror Law. In July 2010, as this report was being finalized, the government passed legal amendments to improve the treatment of child demonstrators; but this report focuses mainly on adult demonstrators, whose treatment remains harsh, disproportionate and ultimately violates several human rights norms.

The vast majority of demonstrators currently being prosecuted under terrorism laws is Kurdish, and the laws are usually invoked in the mainly Kurdish-populated areas of southeast Turkey, or in Adana and Mersin and other cities with large Kurdish populations. People whose writings and commentary on “the Kurdish question” in Turkey support positions perceived to be similar to those of the outlawed armed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) have long faced particularly harsh punishment under Turkish law. Now the courts are applying the same or even harsher punishments to regular people who take to the streets to demonstrate support for opinions the authorities perceive to be similar to those of the PKK. While many of the prosecutions discussed in this report involve allegations of stonethrowing or tire-burning at demonstrations, the government’s increasingly harsh punishment of Kurdish demonstrators does not appear to be a response to demonstrators’ violent acts, but rather to their perceived ideological support for the PKK. The present laws fall foul of the standards required by human rights law and the rule of law that criminal offenses must be defined precisely and in a foreseeable manner (the requirement of legality). Their application in the manner documented in this report amounts to an arbitrary use of criminal law in violation of international human rights standards and the rule of law. The laws also offend against international law as they criminalize the legitimate exercise of freedom of opinion, expression, and assembly. The imposition of aggravated punishment under the Anti-Terror Law because an individual expresses a political opinion, as opposed to the gravity of the unlawful activity, violates international human rights law.

Official statistics are not available for the number of adults and children convicted under terrorism laws and sentenced to prison for participating in demonstrations, but Human Rights Watch estimates that the figure runs into many hundreds. Anecdotal evidence from interviews with lawyers suggests that the numbers have been increasing in the past two years, since an important legal decision on the issue in 2008...

Table des Matières

I. Summary / 1
Key Recommendations / 6
Methodology / 7

II. Background / 9
Conflict and Kurdish Rights in Southeast Turkey / 9
Minority Rights in Turkey / 10
The AKP Government’s “Democratic Opening” and Minority Rights / 12

III. A Culture of Political Protest / 15

IV. Terrorism laws and Demonstrators / 19
Terrorism Offenses in the 2005 Turkish Penal Code and the 2006 Revisions to the Anti-Terror Law / 19
The Case Law on Articles 220/6 and 314/2-3: The Felat Özer Case / 23
Background to the Özer Case: The Diyarbakir Protests of March 28 to 30, 2006 / 23
The General Criminal Board of the Court of Cassation Decision in the Özer Case / 25
Legal Amendments in July 2010 Concerning Child Demonstrators / 29
Statistics on Prosecutions of Child Demonstrators under Terrorism Laws / 33
Lack of Detailed Statistics on Prosecutions of Demonstrators under Terrorism Laws / 35

V. Restricting the Rights to Freedom of Assembly and Expression / 36
Case of Veysi Kaya / 36
Case of Murat Işıkırık / 38
Case of Mehmet Kocakaya and Others / 39
Case of Three Dicle University Students Campaigning for the Right to Mother Tongue Education / 40
Cases of Vesile Tadik, Medeni Aydın, and Selahattin Erden / 42
Case of Rihan Yıldız / 45

VI. Stone-Throwing Equated with PKK Membership: Disproportionate Charges and Sentences / 47
Case of Feyzi Aslan, Fatma Gökhan, and Tufan Yıldırım / 47
Case of H.A. / 48
Case of B.S. / 49

VII. Convictions Based Solely on Police Identification / 52
Case of Murat Baran / 52
Case of Abdulcelil Karaş / 53
Case of Salih Özbek, Seyithan Akbal and Others / 53
Case of Ramazan Uçgün and İdris Üzen / 54
Case of M.Ö. and İ.S. / 55

VIII. Human Rights Violations / 58
Freedom of Expression and Assembly / 58
Principles of Legality, Fair Trial and Due Process / 60
UN Special Rapporteur’s Concerns about Vaguely Worded Terrorism Laws / 62

IX. Specific Concerns Related to Prosecution of Child Demonstrators / 64
Pre-trial Detention of Children / 64
III-Treatment and Procedural Irregularities in the Handling of Child Suspects / 66

X. Recommendations / 69
To the Turkish Government / 69
To the Judiciary / 70
To the Police and Prosecuting Authorities / 70
To Turkey’s International Partners, including the European Union and the United States / 71

Appendix: Translations of Relevant Articles: 2005 Turkish Penal Code and 2006 Revision to the Anti-Terror Law / 72

Acknowledgments / 74

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