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European Court of Human Rights; Turkey: Decision in Case of Slain Journalist

(Sept. 15, 2010) The European Court of Human Rights (ECHR), based in Strasbourg, ruled on September 14, 2010, in favor of a petition submitted by the family of Hrant Dink that Turkey had failed to protect the life of the slain Turkish-Armenian journalist and had also failed to conduct an effective investigation to determine Turkish state agents' responsibility. Dink was shot in 2007 in Istanbul, outside the offices of his weekly publication AGOS. (Turkey 'Failed to Protect' Slain Journalist Hrant Dink (Sept. 14, 2010), http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/wor
ld-europe-11301412
.)

The ECHR decision stated that Turkey had violated articles 2, 10, and 13 of the European Convention on Human Rights (formally known as the Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms), on the right to life, freedom of expression, and the right to an effective remedy, respectively, and it ordered Turkey to pay a fine of about €133,000 (about US$171,000) to the Dink family (including coverage of legal expenses). (Id.; Affaire Dink c. Turquie (Requêtes Nos. 2668/07, 6102/08, 30079/08, 7072/09 et 7124/09) [text of the judgment in French], ARRÊT (Sept. 14, 2010), ECHR website, http://cmiskp.echr.coe.int/tkp197/view.asp?item=1&portal=hbkm&action=html&highlight=Dink%20%7C%20%222668/07%20%7C%206102/08%20%7C%2030079/08%20%7C%207072/09%20%7C%207124/09%22&sessionid=59256248&skin=hudoc-en; Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms (in force on Sept. 3, 1953), Council of Europe website, http://conventions.coe.int/treaty/Commun/QueVoulezVous.asp?NT=005&CL=ENG (last visited Sept. 14, 2010).)

In 2005, Dink had been found guilty of “denigrating Turkish identity” under article 299 of the country's Criminal Code. The basis for the conviction was the publication of eight articles in AGOS between November 2003 and February 2004, in which the journalist “expressed his views on the identity of Turkish citizens of Armenian origin.” According to Dink's family, the guilty verdict had made Dink “a target for extreme nationalist groups.” (BBC NEWS, supra; Criminal Code of Turkey [in English translation], Law No. 5327, OFFICIAL GAZETTE, No. 25611 (Oct. 12, 2004), LEGISLATIONLINE, http://www.legislationline.org/documents/section/criminal-codes.)