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Kurdish Human Rights Project: This is the legacy website of the Kurdish Human Rights Project, containing reports and news pertaining to human rights issues in the Kurdish Regions for 20 years.

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European Court condemns censorship of publisher in Turkey

The European Court of Human Rights held on 13 July 2004 that Turkish authorities had violated the free expression of the owner and director of a publishing house and denied her a fair trial, in one of a series of cases brought to the Court by KHRP (Zarakolu v. Turkey, 26971/95, 37933/97).

Aysenir Zarakolu, the owner and director of the Belge Uluskararasi Yayincilik (BUY) Publishing House published a book in 1994 entitled 'Our Ferhat, Anatomy of a Murder'. The book concerned the torture and killing of Ferhat Tepe, a 19-year-old reporter for a pro-Kurdish newspaper who was abducted in 1993 by undercover agents of the State or by persons acting under their instructions. In May 2003, a further KHRP case to the European Court on behalf of Tepe's father established that the Turkish authorities' investigation into Tepe's killing was inadequate, constituting a violation of the right to life (Article 2) alongside violations of Article 13 and 38 (Isak Tepe v. Turkey, 27244/95).

The Istanbul State Security Court ordered the prohibition and confiscation of the book concerning Tepe's torture and killing under Article 8 of the Anti-Terror Law No. 3713 and Article 36 of the Turkish Penal Code. Zarakolu was sentenced to five months imprisonment and a fine.

KHRP took the applicant's case to the European Court, complaining that there had been violations of Articles 10, 6, 13, 14 and 18 and Article 1 of Protocol No. 1 to the European Convention on Human Rights. The applicant died in January 2002 but the Court ruled that her husband and two sons could pursue the case in their own capacity of victims of the violations.

The Court held that there had been violations of Article 10 (freedom of expression) and Article 6 (right to a fair trial), but that it was not necessary to examine the other complaints.