ECtHR rules rights of writer Zarakolu violated

The ECtHR has concluded that the right to liberty and security and freedom of expression of writer Ragıp Zarakolu have been violated. The writer has been standing trial as part of Kurdistan Communities Union (KCK) Istanbul Main Case.

The European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) has announced its ruling regarding the application of writer-publisher Ragıp Zarakolu.

According to the related ruling of the ECtHR, "the right to liberty and security" of Ragıp Zarakolu as guaranteed by the Article 5 of the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) as well as his "freedom of expression" as guaranteed by the Article 10 of the ECHR have been violated.

Arrested pending trial for nearly five months as part of the Kurdistan Communities Union (KCK) İstanbul Main Case, Ragıp Zarakolu will now be paid 6 thousand 500 Euro in non-pecuniary damages.

What happened?

Ragıp Zarakolu, who is also an Honorary Member of PEN International, was among the 60 people who were detained on October 27, 2011 as part of an investigation conducted by the İstanbul Chief Public Prosecutor's Office against the academy of politics of the then Peace and Democracy Party (BDP). He was arrested on charge of "being a member of the KCK."

An indictment was filed on March 19, 2012 and 183 people faced the "KCK İstanbul Main Trial" based on this indictment. Zarakolu was also one of the defendants indicted and facing a lawsuit on these charges. The main accusation against him was that he taught at the BDP academy of politics.

Ragıp Zarakolu was released from prison on April 10, 2012. The trial is still ongoing at the İstanbul 3rd Heavy Penal Court.

The court previously issued a detention warrant against Zarakolu on the ground that he had not testified as part of the lawsuit.

In October 2018, the Ministry of Justice put the court's Interpol decision into force. Turkey applied to the government of Sweden and requested the extradition of Zarakolu. In September 2019, the prosecutor's office in Sweden found this request inadmissible and demanded the rejection of Turkey's request. On December 18, 2019, the High Court of Sweden handed down its final ruling and rejected Turkey's request for Zarakolu's extradition.

Ragıp Zarakolu applied to the ECtHR on the grounds that there was no concrete evidence or reasonable suspicion that would require his arrest.Moreover, he argued that no reasons were cited in the court decisions.

The application of Ragıp Zarakoğlu also noted that he could not use his right to effective remedy against his arrest. It was also indicated that his freedom of expression was violated while he was behind bars.

Against this backdrop, the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) has now concluded that the Articles 5/1 and 5/4 of the ECHR governing the right to liberty and security and the Article 10 of the Convention governing freedom of expression have been violated.