Former Turkish deputies win court battle

Published 16.06.2015 17:27

The European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR)has fined Turkey for violating the right to free elections of two citizens who tried to stand as independent candidates in 2007.

An ECtHR statement released on Tuesday said that the rights of two former members of Parliament, Mehmet Hatip Dicle and Selim Sadak, were violated.

Dicle and Sadak were deputies from the Democracy Party, which was later dissolved by the Constitutional Court. The pair were sentenced to 15 years in prison in October 1995 on charges of being members of an illegal organization.

When Dicle and Sadak attempted to run as independent candidates in July 2007, their efforts were blocked by the Supreme Election Board (YSK), which, according to the ECtHR, ruled that their "criminal convictions precluded their eligibility."

This was despite the fact that their convictions were under re-examination in Turkey and their prison sentence reduced to seven years and six months.

The pair took their case to the ECtHR in 2001 and received an initial ruling in their favor.

On Tuesday, the ECtHR found that their right to a fair trial was violated because of a "lack of independence and impartiality of the State Security Court, and the failure to inform the applicants in a timely manner of the reclassification of the charges against them, together with their inability to examine or have examined witnesses against them."

The two men again took their case to the ECtHR, claiming that their presumption of innocence had been disregarded.

According to the verdict, Turkish authorities must pay 6,000 euros in non-pecuniary damages to Dicle and Sadak, plus 715 euros in costs and expenses to both applicants.

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