Nov 15 2017

Victory sign 'is not terrorist symbol' - ECHR

The European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) found Turkey guilty of violating a university student's right to demonstrate in relation to a 2006 sentence based on his use of a victory sign.

Murat Işıkırık, a philosophy student at Diyarbakır's Dicle University, was arrested for attending the funeral of a PKK militant and a demonstration at his university in 2006. In his statement, Işıkırık said he was not a member of the armed Kurdish Workers' Party, but instead did his religious duty by attending the funeral of the PKK member, who was his relative.

The sole evidence provided in the indictment regarding Işıkırık's link with the PKK was a photograph taken at the funeral while flashing a victory sign.

At the trial he was found guilty of "terror organisation membership" and "making propaganda for a terrorist organisation", and sentenced to 7 years and 11 months in jail. After spending more than 4 years in prison, Işıkırık was released but lost his student status.

The ECHR ruled that Turkish court's sentence violated Işıkırık's right to demonstrate, ordering Turkey to pay him €16,000 in damages.