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European Court of Human Rights: Deep concern over further extensions granted to Turkey in journalists' cases

Friday 10 November 2017 - 4:38pm

10 November 2017

PEN International is profoundly disappointed by the decision of the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) to grant a second extension to Turkey in the cases of detained journalists Ahmet Şık and Deniz Yücel whose cases are amongst ten given priority status by the ECtHR. Turkey was due to file their response in the cases on 7 November, having already been granted an extension by the Court. Turkey has now been given until 29 November to respond to the journalists’ appeals to the ECtHR concerning their detentions and the charges against them.

“It is hard to overstate the urgency of these purely political cases,” said Carles Torner, Executive Director of PEN International. “Ahmet Şık and Deniz Yücel have been held in detention for over 300 days entirely for their legitimate work as journalists. Their cases have an enormous impact on freedom of expression and the rule of law in Turkey which is unraveling at astonishing speed. The Court has been established to bring justice to exactly these types of egregious cases and has become the last hope of detained journalists in the country. We urge the Court to urgently expedite these cases.”

It is feared that these extensions will further delay rulings on these vital cases. PEN International has monitored the trial of Ahmet Şık, former English PEN writer in residence and has found it marred by violations of the right to a fair trial. Şık has been in detention since December 2016.

Deniz Yücel was arrested in February 2017 has spent almost 300 days in solitary confinement and has not yet had a hearing. The case law of the ECtHR considers that solitary confinement should not be applied to pre-trial detainees while the UN mechanisms state that it cannot be longer than 15 days. PEN has intervened as a third party on each of the cases of journalists in Turkey which have been given priority status at the European Court of Human Rights.

For further information, please contact Sarah Clarke, Policy and Advocacy Manager,; +44 7575 030028.