Stefan Schennach (Austria, SOC), General Rapporteur on media freedom and the safety of journalists for the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE), has welcomed a recent Turkish Constitutional Court ruling that journalist Mehmet Altan’s rights were breached when a lower court failed to release him, and ordering the payment of compensation.
“I welcome the fact that the Constitutional Court has begun to dissociate itself from the predominant judicial practice in Turkey, as shown also by another recent ruling in which the court ruled that the block on access to Wikipedia was unconstitutional. I hope this positive trend will gain momentum,” he said.
“As regards Mehmet Altan’s brother the journalist and writer Ahmet Altan, I urge his immediate release. He was freed on probation in November, given the fact that he had already spent three years in pre-trial detention, but was swiftly re-arrested and returned to detention,” said Mr Schennach.
“This kind of pressure on journalists paralyses freedom of expression and freedom of the media. It is unacceptable in a democratic society, and it is time to bring this to an end,” concluded Mr Schennach.