EUROPEAN COURT OF HUMAN RIGHTS  622 4.12.2003 Press release issued by the Registrar Chamber judgments concerning Italy, Lithuania and Turkey The European Court of Human Rights has today notified in writing the following 28 Chamber judgments, of which only the friendly-settlement judgments are final.  Violation Article 1 of Protocol No. 1 Violation of Article 6 § 1The applicants in the following 18 Italian cases complained about their prolonged inability – through lack of police assistance – to recover possession of their apartments and about the duration of the eviction proceedings. They relied on Article 6 § 1 (right to a fair hearing within a reasonable time) of the European Convention on Human Rights and Article 1 of Protocol No. 1 (protection of property).  Pecuniary damageNon-pecuniary damageCosts and expensesBertuccelli v. Italy (application no. 37110/97)-5,0002,500Calvanese and Spitaletta v. Italy (no. 61665/00) -  15,000 4,600Fabbri v. Italy (no. 58413/00)-3,0002,500Federici v. Italy (no. 62764/00)26,4003,0003,500Guiliani v. Italy (no. 62842/00) -3,0005,500Giunta v. Italy (no. 63514/00)10,0003,0002,500Leonardi v. Italy (no. 52071/99)-3,0002,000Lerario v. Italy (no. 60659/00)-3,0002,400Petitta v. Italy (no. 60431/00)-6,000 3,211.48Poci v. Italy (no. 57635/00)-7,0003,000Pozzi v. Italy (no. 59367/00)100,0003,0004,200Recchi v. Italy (no. 67796/01) 56,3003,0004,500Scaravaggi v. Italy (no. 63414/00) 15,0003,0005,000Scamaccia v. Italy (no. 61282/00)-6,0003,000Soc. De.ro.sa. v. Italy (no. 64449/01) 46,481-5,000Spalletta v. Italy (no. 61666/00)-3,0004,000Todaro v. Italy (no. 62844/00) 32,8003,0005,000Vietri v. Italy (no. 66373/01) 6,4007,000 3,400  The European Court of Human Rights held unanimously in all these cases that there had been a violation of Article 6 § 1 and Article 1 of Protocol No. 1 to the Convention. It awarded the applicants the amounts indicated in euros (EUR) for pecuniary and non-pecuniary damage and for costs and expenses. (The judgments are available in English or French.) Siaurusevičius v. Lithuania (no. 50551/99) Friendly settlementThe applicant, Vidmantas Siaurusevičius (now deceased), was a Lithuanian national. He complained that he was refused access to the Lithuanian Supreme Court in criminal proceedings for kidnapping. He relied on Article 6 (access to court). The case has been struck out following a friendly settlement in which 15,000 litai is to be paid to the applicant’s widow for any pecuniary and non-pecuniary damage, and for costs and expenses. (The judgment is available only in English.) Müslüm Gündüz v. Turkey (no. 35071/97) Violation Article 10The applicant, Müslüm Gündüz, is a Turkish national who was born in 1941. He is a retired worker. Criminal proceedings were instituted against him following his appearance, in his capacity as a leader of Tarikat Aczmendi (a community that describes itself as an Islamic sect), on a television programme broadcast by the HBB channel. The programme, which was broadcast live on 12 June 1995, lasted approximately four hours. On 1 April 1996 a state security court found him guilty of inciting the people to hatred and hostility on the basis of a distinction founded on religion and sentenced him to two years’ imprisonment and a fine. It found in particular that he had described contemporary secular institutions as “impious” (dinsiz), fiercely criticised secular and democratic principles and openly called for the introduction of the shariah. The applicant complained that his criminal conviction had entailed a violation of Article 10 (freedom of expression) of the Convention. The Court found that the applicant’s conviction amounted to interference with his right to freedom of expression. The interference was prescribed by the Turkish Criminal Code and had legitimate aims: the prevention of disorder or crime, and the protection of morals and of the rights of others. The Court observed, firstly, that the programme had been about a sect whose followers had come into the public eye. Mr Gündüz, whose ideas the public was already familiar with, was invited onto the programme to present the sect and its nonconformist views, including the notion that democratic values were incompatible with its conception of Islam. The topic was the subject of widespread debate in the Turkish media and concerned a problem of general interest. In the Court’s view, some of the comments for which the domestic courts had convicted the applicant did demonstrate an intransigent attitude towards and profound dissatisfaction with contemporary institutions in Turkey. However, they could not be regarded as a call to violence or as “hate speech” based on religious intolerance. Furthermore, in view of the context in which they had been made, the Court considered that, when weighing up the competing interests of freedom of expression and the protection of the rights of others to determine whether the interference was necessary for the purposes of Article 10 § 2 of the Convention, the domestic courts should have given greater weight to the fact that the applicant was actively engaged in a lively public debate. Lastly, there could be no doubt that expressions that sought to propagate, incite or justify hatred based on intolerance, including religious intolerance, did not enjoy the protection of Article 10 the Convention. However, in the Court’s view, merely defending the shariah, without calling for the use of violence to establish it, could not be regarded as “hate speech”. In view of the context, the Court found that it had not been convincingly established that the restriction was necessary. Accordingly, notwithstanding the margin of appreciation accorded to the national authorities, the Court found that, for the purposes of Article 10, there were insufficient reasons to justify the interference with the applicant’s right to freedom of expression. It held by six votes to one that there had been a violation of Article 10 and awarded the applicant EUR 5,000 for non-pecuniary damage. (The judgment is available only in French.) Külter v. Turkey (no. 42560/98) Friendly settlementThe applicant, Lokman Külter, is a Turkish national who was born in 1973.  He was arrested on suspicion of being a member of the PKK (the Workers’ Party of Kurdistan) and taken into police custody on 6 May 1992. On 25 May 1992 he was brought before a judge who ordered his detention pending trial. He was charged with being a member of and assisting an illegal organisation. The proceedings are still pending in the domestic courts. The applicant complained under Articles 5 § 3 (right to liberty and security) and 13 (right to an effective remedy) of the length of his detention and the absence of a remedy under domestic law for it. He also complained under Article 6 § 1 (right to a trial within a reasonable time) of the length of the criminal proceedings. The case has been struck out following a friendly settlement in which EUR 11,000 is to be paid for any pecuniary and non-pecuniary damage and EUR 1,500 for costs and expenses. (The judgment is available only in French.) Violation of Article 6 § 1In the following seven Turkish cases, the applicants were convicted by a state security court of being members of or assisting illegal armed organisations and given prison sentences. They complained under Article 6 § 1 that their cases had not been heard by an independent and impartial court, as a military judge had sat on the bench of the trial court. They also complained of the unfairness of the proceedings that had led to their convictions and of other matters under Article 6 of the Convention.  Bilal Bozkurt and Others v. Turkey (no. 46388/99) The applicants, Bilal Bozkurt, Izzettin Ceylan, Metin Yavuz and Mehmet Salih Karakaş, are Turkish nationals who were born in 1974, 1973, 1977 and 1964 respectively. They were being held in Nazilli Prison when their applications were lodged. They were sentenced to prison terms of 21 years, 12 years and 6 months and 3 years and 9 months respectively for being members of the PKK. Çavuşoğlu and Others v. Turkey (no. 47757/99) The applicants, Özgür Çavuşoğlu, Inanç Özen and Veli Akdağ, are Turkish nationals who were born in 1974, 1977 and 1973 respectively. At the time their applications were lodged, the first applicant was living in Denizli and the other two were being held in Buca Prison. They were all convicted of being members of the MLKP (Marxist-Leninist Communist Party). Mr Çavuşoğlu was sentenced to 3 years and 9 months’ imprisonment, and Mr Özen and Mr Akdağ was sentenced to 12 years and 6 months’ each. Duran v. Turkey (no. 47654/99) The applicant, Osman Duran, is a Turkish national who was born in 1969. At the material time he lived in Tunceli. He was sentenced to 3 years and 9 months’ imprisonment for assisting the PKK. Dursun and Others v. Turkey (no. 44267/98) The applicants, Mehmet Dursun, Seyithan Akdeniz, Yakup Güneş, Eşref Taşdemir and Ali Yıldız, are Turkish nationals who were born in 1973, 1974, 1973, 1962 and 1953 respectively. They were found guilty of undermining the indivisible unity of the State. Mr Dursun, Mr Akdeniz and Mr Güneş were sentenced to death, which was commuted to life imprisonment, and Mr Taşdemir and Mr Yıldız were sentenced to 3 years and 9 months’ imprisonment. Sarıoğlu v. Turkey (no. 48054/99) The applicant, Saffet Sarıoğlu, is a Turkish national who is born in 1970. He was being held in Bergama Prison when his application was lodged. He was sentenced to 13 years and 5 months’ imprisonment for being a member of the DHKP/C (Revolutionary Party for the Liberation of the People/Front). Taş v. Turkey (no. 48134/99) The applicant, Yeşim Taş, is a Turkish national who was born in 1973. She was being held in Diyarbakır when her application was lodged. She was sentenced to 3 years and 9 months’ imprisonment for assisting the PKK. Taşkın v. Turkey (no. 49517/99) The applicant, Hüseyin Taşkın, is a Turkish national who was born in 1958. He was being held in Bergama Prison when his application was lodged. He was found guilty of being the leader of an illegal organisation, the THKP/C (Party for the Liberation of the People of Turkey) and of having instigated illegal activities which were carried on in the name of that organisation. He was sentenced, inter alia, to 18 years and 9 months’ imprisonment.  The Court reiterated that a civilian called upon to answer charges under the Criminal Code in a state security court in which a military judge was sitting had legitimate cause for concern about the independence and impartiality of that court. Accordingly, it held unanimously in all seven cases that there had been a violation of Article 6 § 1 of the Convention. The Court also reiterated that a court that has been found not to be independent and impartial cannot, under any circumstances, guarantee a fair trial to those appearing before it. Consequently, it held unanimously that it was unnecessary to examine the other complaints of procedural unfairness. Under Article 41 (just satisfaction) of the Convention, the Court held unanimously in all seven cases that its findings of violations in themselves constituted sufficient just satisfaction for the applicants’ alleged non-pecuniary damage. It observed that in cases in which it found that an applicant had been convicted by a court that was not independent and impartial within the meaning of Article 6 § 1, the most appropriate remedy would in principle be for the applicant to be retried without delay by a court that was independent and impartial. In the case of Dursun and Others v. Turkey, the Court awarded the applicants jointly EUR 1,500 for costs and expenses. In each of the other cases, it awarded the applicants EUR 2,000 (less any sums received by way of legal aid) for costs and expenses. (The judgments are available only in French.)  *** These summaries by the Registry do not bind the Court. The full texts of the Court’s judgments are accessible on its Internet site (http://www.echr.coe.int). Registry of the European Court of Human RightsF – 67075 Strasbourg CedexPress contacts: Roderick Liddell (telephone: +00 33 (0)3 88 41 24 92) Emma Hellyer (telephone: +00 33 (0)3 90 21 42 15) Stéphanie Klein (telephone: +00 33 (0)3 88 41 21 54)Fax: +00 33 (0)3 88 41 27 91 The European Court of Human Rights was set up in Strasbourg by the Council of Europe Member States in 1959 to deal with alleged violations of the 1950 European Convention on Human Rights. Since 1 November 1998 it has sat as a full-time Court composed of an equal number of judges to that of the States party to the Convention. The Court examines the admissibility and merits of applications submitted to it. It sits in Chambers of 7 judges or, in exceptional cases, as a Grand Chamber of 17 judges. The Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe supervises the execution of the Court’s judgments. More detailed information about the Court and its activities can be found on its Internet site. Under Article 43 of the European Convention on Human Rights, within three months from the date of a Chamber judgment, any party to the case may, in exceptional cases, request that the case be referred to the 17‑member Grand Chamber of the Court. In that event, a panel of five judges considers whether the case raises a serious question affecting the interpretation or application of the Convention or its protocols, or a serious issue of general importance, in which case the Grand Chamber will deliver a final judgment. If no such question or issue arises, the panel will reject the request, at which point the judgment becomes final. Otherwise Chamber judgments become final on the expiry of the three-month period or earlier if the parties declare that they do not intend to make a request to refer.