ECHR rules Turkey violated free speech of singer Atilla Taş

The European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) on Tuesday ruled Turkey violated the rights of a singer over his prolonged detention on terrorism charges.

The European court said Turkey violated Atilla Taş's right to "freedom and security,’’ as well as "free speech,’’during his 14-month detention on charges of "aiding a terrorist organisation "and ordered the Turkish authorities to pay the entertainer some 15,000 euros in damages.

Taş was sentenced to three years in prison for "knowingly and willingly aiding a terrorist organization’’ in July 2016. Ankara accuses the Gülen movement, a religious group led by US-based cleric Fethullah Gülen, of orchestrating the July 2016 coup attempt and designates the group a terrorist organisation.

The pop singer turned columnist for the now shuttered Meydan daily, was detained over tweets and articles he wrote.

ECHR said there had been "no facts or information that would satisfy an objective observer that he had committed the offences in question’’ at the time of his detention.

Taş faced up to two life sentences if convicted, until a Turkish court released the singer in March 2017 and suspended the execution of the penalty.

Taş was arrested a third time in April 2017 over charges of plotting the coup attempt. Once more, charges were dropped after months behind bars, but the court sentenced Taş to three years and one month in prison for helping a terrorist organisation.

Overall, Taş spent 416 days behind the bars and was acquitted of all charges against him last year.