Freedom of expression

Lack of impartiality of the court when in a trial for revealing state secrets 1/3 of the jurors were related to secret services!

Danilov v. Russia 01.12.2020 (app. no. 88/05)
Jurors, principle of impartiality and the right to examine witnesses.
A famous physicist was found guilty of treason for revealing state secrets. The applicant complained of jury bias and that his restrictions on the examination of witnesses meant that he did not have access to a fair trial.
The ECtHR found that bias issues were identified in the composition of the jury as 4 of the 12 jurors carried “state security clearance”. The national court should therefore have considered this issue in detail. The failure of the courts to do so violated the ECHR.

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Disciplinary sanction of non-promotion of a judge for harsh articles against the President of the Supreme Court. Accusations without proof. No violation of the right to freedom of expression

Panioglu v. Romania 08.12.2020 (app. no. 33794/14)
Judges and freedom of expression. Official sanctions against a judge, in particular concerning promotion, due to an article she had written in the press.
The applicant wrote an article in the press entitled “Nothing about how a Comrade Prosecutor has become president of all the judges”. In it she harshly criticized the activities of the President of the Court of Cassation during the period of the oppressive communist regime, whenever she worked as a Prosecutor. She wondered how the “Comrade Prosecutor” had acted to “uproot the enemies of the socialist class” and to “chase” women who had had an abortion. . She spoke of the “dungeons” and “poverty” under the regime and the prosecutors “somewhere above in an untouchable shining world … All these
comrades, usurpers of Christ and His Law, sternly guard[ing] the communist prison”. She spoke about living in grinding poverty while “the Comrade Prosecutor ha[d] also floated above”.

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Strasbourg for the first time against the coronavirus! Inadmissible application for omissions and inadequate handling of the health crisis due to Covid-19, without the plaintiff being a victim!

Le Mailloux v. France 03.12.2020 (app. no. 18108/20)
The case concerned the applicant’s objections to the handling by the French State of the Covid-19
health crisis.
The Court observed that the applicant was complaining about the measures taken by the French State to curb the propagation of the Covid-19 virus among the whole population of France, but had not shown how he was personally affected. It reiterated that it did not recognise an actio popularis:
meaning that applicants cannot complain about a provision of domestic law, a domestic practice or
public acts simply because they appear to contravene the European Convention on Human Rights. In
order for applicants to be able to claim to be a victim, they must produce reasonable and convincing
evidence of the likelihood that a violation affecting them personally will occur.
The application was thus incompatible with the European Convention.

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Freedom of expression is violated by the unlawful detention of a journalist during the performance of his duties. Detention is not compatible with the ECHR when there is no reasonable suspicion of guilt

Şık v. Turkey 24.11.2020 (app. no.  36493/17)
The case concerned the initial and continued pre-trial detention of the journalist Ahmet Şık, who
was suspected of disseminating propaganda in favour of organisations considered to be terrorist
organisations or of assisting them through articles and interviews published in the Turkish daily
newspaper Cumhuriyet and social media posts, all of which criticised government policy.
The Court held that Mr Şık could not be reasonably suspected, at the time of his placement in
detention, of having committed the offences of disseminating propaganda in favour of terrorist
organisations or assisting those organisations. In other words, the facts of the case did not support
the conclusion that a reasonable suspicion had existed against him. Accordingly, although imposed
under judicial supervision, the orders for Mr Şık’s initial and continued detention had been based on
mere suspicion.

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The surreptitiously taken photos of the applicant who was the Party Chairman partner at her exit from the hospital violated the respect for private life

Dupate v. Latvia 19.11.2020 (app. no. 18068/11)
Photographes taken secretly of mother and newborn child as they leave the maternity clinic and their publication in the media. The applicant was the partner of the President of a political party, who was a public figure. Right to the protection of the privacy of the mother. Balancing privacy and freedom of expression.

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Condemnation of a politician because he did not assist the police in dispersing demonstrations! Violation of freedom of expression

Ιmrek v. Turkey 10.11.2020 (app. no. 45975/12)
Criminal conviction of a politician for participating in demonstrations and non-assistance of the police in the dissolution. Freedom of expression.

The applicant was convicted of propaganda in favor of a terrorist organization. The domestic courts based their conviction on his participation in two demonstrations and his lack of assistance to the police in dispersing the protesters. They considered that he did not have the appropriate reaction to the disputed actions of the protesters, that he only had to warn them, that he had not asked the government commissioner to end the demonstration and had not provided the necessary assistance to him and the police for this purpose.

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Turkish courts have sentenced an opposition leader to compensation for saying ” you are not godly, you are a religion-monger “! Condemnation of Turkey for violating freedom of expression!

JUDGMENT Kılıçdaroğlu v. Turkey 27.10.2020 (app. no.  16558/18) see here  SUMMARY The case concerned a civil judgment ordering Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu, leader of the main opposition party, to pay compensation for tarnishing the reputation of the then Prime Minister, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, on account of remarks made by him in two speeches delivered in 2012 on […]

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A judge described his inspection report as biased. His disciplinary conviction violated his freedom of expression. Right to be criticized by those audited in the reports of the higher courts

JUDGMENT Guz v. Poland 15.10.2020 (app. no. 965/12) see here  SUMMARY Criticism of his inspection report by a judge. Disciplinary condemnation for the applicant’s expressions. His disciplinary conviction is a Violation of the judge’s freedom of expression. The applicant, a judge, was not promoted following the negative inspection report prepared by the Inspector Judge and […]

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