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Maat “The Human Rights Council should end restrictions on freedom of opinion and expression in Turkey”

Okeil “Turkey has become a major prison for journalists in the rule of Erdogan”

Maat for Peace, Development and Human Rights delivered an intervention on restrictions on freedom of opinion and expression in Turkey on Tuesday, June 25, 2019, before the United Nations Human Rights Council, in the framework of the Council’s 41st session held in Geneva from June 24 to July 12, 2019.

Maat called upon the Human Rights Council to intervene in order to put an end to the restrictions placed by President Erdogan on the right to freedom of opinion and expression, as this right has been dramatically violated in light of the ongoing harassment and violations committed by the Turkish authorities against all activists, opponents and journalists. Which contravenes international norms and conventions, in particular article 19 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.

Ayman Okeil, President of Maat, stated that Turkey in the rule of President Erdogan has become a big prison for journalists. Turkey ranks first in the world in the prison of journalists. The number of journalists imprisoned in Turkish prisons during the year 2018 is 68 journalists. Okeil also said that the number of journalists prosecuted since 2011 to March 19, 2019 has reached more than 600, many of whom have been sentenced to prison for more than 10 years’ and a fine. He also stressed that the violations include restricting public freedoms and issuing laws that restrict the freedom of opinion and expression, assaulting journalists, writers, academics and critics, prosecuting all of them and imprisoning them, in addition to blocking websites and imprisoning bloggers and activists.

It is worth mentioning that, Maat has conducted a statistic on the extent of Turkish violations of human rights in general and the right to freedom of opinion and expression in particular, showing that the European Court of Human Rights, since it was established, has considered 66,251 cases of human rights violations. Turkey ranks first in the number of cases for one country, accounting for 16% of all cases against Member States, whereas the percentage represents 10638 cases against Turkey, the European Court found a violation by the State in 7255 cases by 68%. Regarding the cases of the right of freedom of opinion and expression, Turkey also ranks first in the European Court with 1,300 cases; the Court found a violation of article 10 (on the right of freedom of opinion and expression) in 1072 cases by 82%.

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