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Home arrow newsitems arrow Murdered Journalists Hrant Dink + Adali at ECHR: Turkey's acts since 2005-2007 questioned in 2010

Murdered Journalists Hrant Dink + Adali at ECHR: Turkey's acts since 2005-2007 questioned in 2010

Written by ACM
Wednesday, 05 May 2010
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    Controversial EU Candidate Turkey's failure to make Efficient Investigations on Murders of 2 Journalists : dissident Turkish Cypriot Kutlu Adali and Armenian critic Hrant Dink, particularly since 2005 and 2007 up to 2010, was questioned in Strasbourg at a CoE-organized debate on the Anniversary of Press Freedom Day (May 5).


    The event brought together ECHR's Senior Legal Expert, Vincent Berger, International NGO watchdog on Press Freedom "Reporters without Borders"' Director for Europe and Central Asia, Elsa Vidal, PanEuropean Commissioner for Human Right's Office Director and several experienced Journalists, such as European TV ARTE's Reportage Director Marco Nassivera, the Organizer of CoE's Annual Journalists' Conference, Jerome Bouvier, Strasbourg Newspaper DNA's Director Dominique Jung, etc.
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    The Family of the murdered Armenian Journalist Hrant Dink is currently in the process of pursuing an application against the Turkish Government at the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg, a key ECHR Official confirmed earlier to Strasbourg's Journalists including "EuroFora".  


    - "But what is really Worrying in Turkey, which is used to have Violent problems, is that most violations of Freedom of Speech, Journalists' Rights are the result of ambivalent (Turkish) Judges and of High-level Politicians, and this raises a very particular Problem", denounced from the outset the New Director for Europe and Central Asia of the International NGO Watchdog "Reporters without Borders", Elsa Vidal.


    - "A particularly interesting Paradox is that the Author of a Book published in Turkey on the Murder of the Armenian Journalist Hrant Dink on Januray 2007, which denounces what everybody suspects, i.e.  that the (Turkish) Police let the murder be committed, if it didn't even pave the way for (planify)  at the Highest level  the murder of the Journalisy, is currently threatened to be condemned into ...a longer Prison sentence than the presumed Murderers !", she criticized.


     - Moreover, "for those following the (Court's) Proceedings on the presumed killer at Istanbul, it's easy to realize that the (Turkish) Judges are in collusion and show their sympathy with the Murderer !", Vidal denounced.


    Indeed, Press Reports revealed, these same Days, that the Family and the Friends of the murdered Journalist and their Lawyers formally asked from the Turkish Authorities to urgently change the Judges and the Attorney, and replace them with really serious, objective and committed persons.

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    Meanwhile, the aftermarth of Hrant Dink's January 2007 Murder, (which took place in Turkey after the 2005 killing of Catholic Priest Sandoro and the 2006 atrocious Torture and Murder of 3 Christian Protestant workers at a Bible editor), is extensively discussed in a New 2010 German Documentary Film with fresh research on original Letters and Testimonies from German, Swiss, Danish, Austrian, a.o. eye witnesses of the 1910-1915 Massacre organized by the former Ottoman - "Young Turk" regime, which is due to be soon translated and published also by the European TV Chanel ARTE.

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But International Watchdog on Press Freedom "Reporters without Borders"' Director for Europe, Elsa Vidal, also anounced her intention to examine the case Turkey's total failure to efficiently investigate the cold blood Murder of a Dissident Journalist in the Occupied Territories of Cyprus, still held by Ankara's Army, despite its condemnation by an ECHR's Judgement since 2005.

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    Vidal was replying to an "EuroFora"'s Question on Journalists' Murder cases, among which, as we observed, "some are very well known, while others, not" :


    - F. ex. , on the one hand, we have the famous Gongadze case, where ECHR had condemned in 2005 Ukraine because of the lack of an Efficient Investigation. But afterwards Ukraine proceeded to arrest and condemn to heavy Jail sentences 2 of them, who were suspects of having committed themselves the  killing, And later another, 3rd one, who is suspected to have organized those who killed, was also arrested. Even if the instigators have not yet been found, Ukraine, however, accepted even the interference of Foreign Experts in the on-going Investigation, and CoE's Committee of Ministers' Monitoring on the implementation of ECHR's Judgement, is continuing in Strasbourg", "Eurofora" observed.


    - " But, at the same time, few People speak of another case, concerning Turkey, which was also condemned by ECHR the same year of 2005, equally for lack of efficient Investigation in the case of the Murder of another Journalist shot with 5 Bullets at the Head out of his Family Home, in the territories of Cyprus Occupied by the Turkish Army : a dissident Turkish Cypriot, Kutly Adali. Here, on the contrary, the Turkish Government has not found, nor punished yet, not even one among the Murderers, nor those who planified the Murder, and persists, both before and after ECHR's Judgement, to claim that there it would be impossible for Ankara to ever find anyone among those responsible for the Murder. Suprisingly, however, CoE's Committee of Ministers, instead of pressing Turkey to make an Efficient Investigation and to threaten it with Sanctions, as it did many times vis a vis Ukraine, on the contrary, is ready to ..."close" the examination of this case for ever (reportedly on June), inevitably giving a Strange impression of Double Standards, "EuroFora" denounced.

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    - "is it because in the case of Adali's murder, (unlike to Gongadze's murder case),  there is no Foreign State or Group pushing the CoE to ask Effective Investigations, but only the Wife and the Daughter of the Victim, who are still obliged to live under the illegal Turkish Occupation regime ?, "EuroFora" wondered.  The avove mentioned Difference of treatment, by CoE's Committee of Ministers, between these 2 cases of ECHR Judgements which had condemned 2 States (Ukraine and Turkey) for an initial lack of Efficient Investigations on the Murders of 2 Journalists, Gongadge and Adali respectively, risks today to practically annul ECHR's Judgement in the Adali murder case, "EuroFora" concluded.


    - "Reporters without Borders"' New Director for Europe and Central Asia, Elsa Vidal, was questioned by the organizer of CoE's Annual Journalists' Conference, Jerome Bouvier from France, if she had been previously alerted on Adali's murder case, or not.


    Vidal replied that, indeed, as "EuroFora" had observed, RWB had not been yet duly informed about what was really going on about Adali's murder case, and anounced that she was going to ask their new Correspondent of the International Press Freedom Watchdog in Cyprus to find out particularlmy the relations between the Murder and the Victim's work as a Journalist.


    As Vidal later said to "EuroFora", "Reporters without Borders" new Correspondent in Cyprus is a Turkish Cypriot living in the Occupied Territories of the island, as Adali and his Family did.


    Adali was a well known critic against Ankara's policies of massive imports of Turkish Settlers in the Occupied Territories of Cyprus, which threatened to modify the Demographic Structure of the area, by making of the local Turkish Cypriots a Minority vis a vis Turkey's own Citizens, risking to provoke a serious "Political Obstacle" to a Peaceful Solution of the issue of Cyprus and its ReUnification, as CoE's Parliamentary Assembly and CoE's Committee of Ministers have repeatedly denounced in Reports, Resolutions and Decisions adopted in Strasbourg since the 1999ies.


    Shortly before his Murder Adali had reportedly published also an article denouncing  suspicions for the implication of a Turkish Military Commader in the Plundering and the Destruction of Religious Christian Monuments in the Occupied Territories of Cyprus, from which their ancestral Greek Cypriot Majority Community has been evited and illegaly hindered to return since the 1974 Turkey's Military Invasion and Occupation, in reaction to a short-lived Coup by a few Greek Cypriot Nationalists aspiring to join the former Junta then in power in Athens, which was then overthrown and its leaders condemned to heavy Prison sentences. ECHR has repeatedly condemned Ankara for various Human Rights' violations related to its continuing Military Occupation of the northern part of Cyprus.


    According to the International Penal Court's Statute, attempts by an Occupying power to massively "replace" the original lawful Inhabitants of the occupied area by massive imports of its own Population, is denounced as a "War Crime".


    But the most dangerous effect of what Adali's Newspaper publications used to criticize, i.e. the illegal attribution of so-called Cyprus' "Citizenship" to the Turkish Settlers imported from Anatolia by the illegal Occupation regime, might be soon felt by the UNO and the EU at the Table of the InterCommunal Negotiations for the Solution of Cyprus' issue between Cyprus' President Christofias and the new 2010 Turkish Cypriot leader Eroglou, who is reportedly known for being more in favor of a "2 States"' stance, which obviously risks to permanently divide the island, than for a real reUnification of EU-Member Cyprus.


    Meanwhile, speaking earlier to "EuroFora" on the occasion of Turkey's total failure to make an efficient investigation of Adali's murder, CoE's PanEuropean Commissioner for Human Rights, Thomas Hammarberg, pointed, as a matter of general principle, at his Püblication for the Annual Press Freedom Day, which clearly stresses that "Authorities should Efficiently and Effectively Investigate any ...incidents" of ""Acts of Violence, Harassment and Intimidation against Journalists", "and prosecute and sentence perpetrators".


    - "Authorities should also take the necessary Preventive Measures against acts of Violence against Journalists", added Hammarberg's publication this week, in an observation closer to Armenian Journalist Hrant Dink's case (Comp. above). ” It should be recalled that violence, harassment and threats can have a chilling effect on media reporting and may result in self-censorship", Hammarberg also warns, pointing to the fact that such cases of non-elucidated murders of Journalists, as Adali, Hrant Dink, etc, can have much larger effects.

 

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ECHR's President to "EuroFora" on Journalists Gongadze and Adali murders : Principles must apply to all States, without discrimination.


+ ECHR's Statistics on Freedom of Expression (See below).


 European Court of Human Rights' President, Jean-Paul Costa, questioned by "EuroFora" on Journalists' murders, as in Gongadze and Adali's cases etc., strongly stressed all CoE Member States' obligation to make efficient Investigations to find and punish those responsible, and underlined that ECHR's case-law's principles must apply to all without any discrimination.

His call was clearly supported by various Top MEPs who denounced a risk of "Double Standards" if some Journalists' murders are investigated, while others don't.

To avoid such risks, CoE's Parliamentary Assembly adopted a Resolution, on the occasion of Ukranian Journalist Gongadze's murder, "stressing", as a matter of general Principle, "the importance it attaches to the safety of Journalists and political activists, especially those linked to opposition groups, in ALL member states of the CoE". All "crimes against journalists and political activists must be investigated ... as a matter of priority, without political interference".

Costa was replying to "EuroFora"s question on the fact that, after CoE's Committee of Ministers, also CoE's Assembly had just adopted a Resolution on Gongadze murder case, based on an ECHR's judgement of 2005, asking a full Investigation from Ukraine, who has found and condemned  in 10 years of jail 2 executants, but not yet the instigators.

While nothing similar was yet done for dissident Turkish Cypriot Kutlu Adali's murder, with 5 bullets shot at his head out of his Family's home in the territories of Cyprus occupied by Ankara's army, despite another ECHR's judgement of the same year 2005, and despite Turkey's claim that nobody was found among those responsible for the murder, and that there was nothing more to do..

In order to be credible and efficient, CoE's mechanisms shouldn't find a way to at least ask for full investigations of all Journalists' murders anywhere they might be committed, without exceptions ?

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- "On the larger question that you raised, I'd like to say, since we are in a period of stock-taking on ECHR's 50 Years, that the Court's case-law developed certain concepts ....such as the Positive obligations of States, part of which are also the procedural obligations", started to reply ECHR's President.

 - "Whenever Journalists, Lawyers, Defenders of Human Rights, or even simple Citizens are murdered, the States are held responsible, not only if its their own security forces' agents who committed these murders, but also if they didn't make sufficiently substantial and efficient Investigations", he stressed.

- "I want to strongly underline that we (ECHR) have found in many cases numerous violations of Articles 2 and 3 against States, ....(about) murders or torture, ...because they didn't make enough Investigations in order to try to find and punish those responsible".

- "We (ECHR) do that vis-a-vis all 47 (CoE) Member States, without any discrimination".

"Naturally, the circumstances in each particular case may be differend, and we can't ommit to apply the rules of proof, or the rules of criminal procedure".

"But we try, by all means, to apply these principles of our case-law, to all States", he concluded.

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      Costa's call was strongly supported by several Top CoE MEPs, from various Political areas


- "To investigate the murder of one Journalist, and not of another, looks like Double Standards", denounced the President of EuroLeft Group in CoE's Assembly, Dutch MEP Tiny Cox.  

- "What is the reason ? Politics or specificity of a case ? Of course, if Cyprus and Turkey are involved, it's always a Political case"..

- "Murders of Journalists should always be fully investigated, because killing Journalists is not only killing persons, but also killing Free Press".  "We (CoE's Assembly) should do our outmost to help People who are working on Free Press and they are under threat or murdered".

Because for Free Politics, Free Press is a pre-requisitive : Parliamentarians  cannot  function without a Free Press. Not investigating, is not protecting ourselves".

So we should investigate all Journalists' murders : We are talking about Gongadze, about the Cypriot man (Adali), about the Journalist murdered in Moscow one week ago, etc", Cox concluded

- "CoE can' look at these cases differently. CoE can't wear Blinckers  !".
- "If the one is investigated, so has to be also the other. Why there wasn't full investigation ? Why's that ?", wondered British  Socialist MEP, Alan Meale.

- "A good idea" would be to "make a Motion for Resolution", and "join all Journalists' murders. Adali and Gongadze etc", said to "EuroFora" EU Parliament Political affairs Committee's President, Goran Lindbland, ChristianDemocrat MEP from Sweden.


(See also earlier News at "EuroFora" on similar issues).
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ECHR's Statistics on Freedom of Expression :


    Almost Half of condemnations by ECHR for violations of Freedom of Expression in 2008, concern Turkey : 20 out of a total of 48 for all CoE's Member States.

    Russia, Poland, France and Moldova were condemned only 3 times. Romania, Greece, Portugal, 2 times, and the other CoE Member States only 1 time, or none.
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    During the last Decade : 1998 - 2008, Turkey was condemned for violating Freedom of Expression in ..169 cases, while Austria only in 24.

    France and Moldova in 14 and 13, respectively, closely followed by Russia and Poland with 11 and 10, respectively. The rest of CoE Member States had less than ten condemnations.    
    

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