Saying “Esteemed Öcalan” is free speech, Europe’s top court says

The European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) has backed Turkish prisoners who were jailed for openly honouring the leader of Kurdish insurgent group, Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) Abdullah Öcalan.

In recent judgements, the court said Turkey violated its citizens’ freedom of expression, protected by Article 10 of the European Convention on Human Rights, when it sentenced five people to solitary confinement for referring to Öcalan by using the honorific “Sayın,” meaning “Esteemed.”

The European Centre for Press and Media Freedom (ECPMF) reported that the Turkish citizens’ requests to appeal the decision were rejected by domestic authorities.

ECHR in October 2017 issued a similar judgement involving a newspaper’s praising of the intellectual roots of the PKK, ECPMF said.

The PKK is considered a terrorist organisation by Turkey and by the European Union.