ECHR orders government to compensate free expression activist for imprisonment over statement on conscientious objector

ECHR orders government to compensate free expression activist for imprisonment over statement on conscientious objector

Country/Topic: Turkey
Date: 23 January 2008
Source: IPS Communication Foundation (BIANET)
Person(s): Sanar Yurdatapan
Target(s): human rights worker(s)
Type(s) of violation(s): arrested , charged , imprisoned , released
Urgency: Bulletin

(BIANET/IFEX) - The European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) has sentenced Turkey to pay Sanar Yurdatapan 3,500 Euros in compensation for violating his freedom of expression. He had been sentenced to two months' imprisonment for a statement supporting conscientious objector Osman Murat Ülke.

Yurdatapan, spokesperson for the Initiative against Crimes of Thought, was awarded 2,000 Euros in damages and 1,500 Euros in legal costs by the ECHR on 8 January 2008.

After a trial in 2001, Yurdatapan was sentenced to two months' imprisonment for the statement supporting Ülke, and did in fact go to prison.

Yurdatapan appealed to the ECHR in 2001, citing Article 10 of the European Convention on Human Rights. The court decreed that the statement did not incite violence nor openly call for desertion.

The ECHR declared that such a punishment was "unnecessary in a democratic society". Furthermore, the court cited Article 6/1 of the Convention and said that the right to a fair trial had been violated.

Yurdatapan is also spokesperson for the Initiative for Freedom of Expression (Antenna-TR), a member organisation of the International Freedom of Expression Exchange (IFEX) network.


For further information contact Nadire Mater at BIANET, Faikpasa Yokusu, No. 41, Antikhane, Kat: 3, D.8-9, Cukurcuma, Beyoglu, Istanbul, Turkey, tel: +90 212 251 1503, fax: +90 212 251 1609, e-mail: bia at bianet dot org, Internet:

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Jan. 25-26 Days of Action

Support the Troops with the Courage to Resist!

Join and support January 25, 2008 vigils and delegations in support of U.S. war resisters currently seeking sanctuary Canada. Actions are being planned in Washington D.C., New York, Seattle, San Francisco, Los Angeles and elsewhere.

Supporters will meet with officials at Canadian Consulates across the United States in order underscore that many Americans hope that the Canadian Parliament votes (possibly as early as February) in favor of a provision to allow war resisters to remain.

The following day, Saturday, January 26, the War Resisters Support Campaign (Canada) has called for a Canada-wide mobilization to ensure that deportation proceedings against U.S. war resisters cease immediately, and to support a sanctuary provision.

Today the fate of approximately 200 U.S. war resisters in Canada is at a very critical juncture. Your support can make a difference. Let the Canadian government know that you support U.S. servicemembers that are taking a stand against the Iraq War and occupation. They should not be deported to face prosecution for following their conscience and upholding international law.

On December 6, Courage to Resist organizers attended a
meeting of the Standing Committee on Citizenship and Immigration
of the House of Commons in Ottawa that adopted a motion that
was a critical victory for Iraq War resisters seeking sanctuary. It’s
now possible that the full House of Commons may vote on this
resolution as early as February. However, in the meantime, deportation
is becoming a real possibility for some of the resisters. It is critical to
build momentum in the wake of this important fi rst victory.

Hon. Prime Minister Stephen Harper
80 Wellington Street
Ottawa, Ontario K1A 0A2, CANADA
Hon. Minister of Citizenship & Immigration Diane Finley
Citizenship & Immigration Canada
Ottawa, Ontario K1A 1L1, CANADA
Stéphane Dion, Liberal Party
81 Metcalfe Street, Suite 400
Ottawa, Ontario K1P 6M8, CANADA
I am writing from the United States to ask you to make a
provision for sanctuary for the scores of U.S. military servicemembers
currently in Canada, most of whom have traveled to your country in
order to resist fi ghting in the Iraq War. Please let them stay in Canada.


Courage to Resist volunteers will print and post via international
fi rst class mail three letters (intro text below-left) on your behalf. Each
will be separately addressed to a Canadian offi cial and will feature your
return name and address. See webpage above for complete text. Please
encourage friends to sign the letter online as well!
OR use the letter as an outline for a more personalized appeal
on behalf of yourself, church, union, or organization.

Download and print PDF letters and 11”x14” petitions.
Collect signatures and simply send the completed forms back to us.
We’ll mail the letters to Canada, and we’ll send signers a thank you.

Consider a donation to Courage to
Resist so that we can continue sending
these letters regardless of signers ability to
contribute. Each set costs us over $2.50 to
produce and mail, so we’re counting on you.
ALSO, please consider donating to
War Resisters Support Campaign
(Canada) to directly “help U.S. war
resisters in need and to continue to
build a national campaign to ensure that
the Canadian government will make a
provision for US war resisters to stay in
Canada.” For more information, and to

4. Hold a House Party
Help get out the word. Invite friends over to watch and discuss
the new 60 min. documentary “Breaking Ranks” (available from
Courage to Resist for a $30 donation).

Order “Dear Canada:
Let U.S. War Resisters
Stay!” postcards for local
organizing and outreach at
events. Each pre-addressed with
a brief message to Canadian offi cials. Twenty sets of postcards (3 per
set—60 total) are available for only $10.
Courage to Resist
484 Lake Park Ave #41, Oakland CA 94610