The Turkish Constitutional Court issues judgment in the case of Ayşe Çelik

On 9 May 2019 the Turkish Constitutional Court issued its judgment in the case concerning the criminal conviction of Ayşe Çelik. Ayşe Çelik was prosecuted, convicted and sentenced to a custodial sentence for the broad-reaching and ill-defined crime of ‘disseminating propaganda’ in favour of a terrorist organisation (under Article 7/(2) of Law no. 3713 on the Fight Against Terrorism). Her purported offence consisted of comments made during a telephone call to a television show stating that in South East Turkey “unborn children, mothers and people are being killed” and that the media must “not keep silent”. The Constitutional Court ruled that the imprisonment of Ayşe Çelik constituted a violation of freedom of expression, requesting both a retrial and an end to the violation. A detailed analysis of the judgment can be found here.

Helen Duffy and Philip Leach presented a joint expert opinion to the Turkish Constitutional Court in September 2018, examining international law standards on the criminalisation and prosecution of crimes of expression. The opinion is available here.