Application Number 50495/08

European Court of Human Rights  

[Judgment delivered in French]

The applicant published an article in his periodical idolizing the persons who murdered three NATO soldiers. The Court found that the manner in which the article described the events and murderers glorified violence and, as such, there was no violation of Article 10.


Theme(s): Violence/Glorification of Violence

Date: 10 March 2020

Description of applicant(s):  Owner of a periodical

Brief description of facts: The case concerned a judicial fine imposed on Altıntaş for an article published in 2007 in his periodical Tokat Demokrat, describing the perpetrators of the “Kızıldere events,” among others as “idols of the youth.” The events in question took place in March 1972, when three British nationals working for NATO were abducted and executed by their kidnappers. Altıntaş was convicted in 2008 by the Criminal Court, which found that the article glorified the insurgents involved in those events.

(Alleged) target(s) of speech: –    

The Court’s assessment of the impugned speech: The Court found that the manner in which the murderers of the NATO soldiers were described, and the tense social context regarding the particular events, meant that the speech was not protected by Article 10.

Important paragraph(s) from the judgment:

Para.33: The Court notes that the article presents, in approving terms, these acts as heroic behaviors adopted by “young revolutionaries,” which would have resulted in their perpetrators being “the idols of youth,” and qualifies the death of most of the latter, following the armed confrontation which had taken place between them and the police, of “massacre.” According to the Court, it is indisputable that, notwithstanding their aim, which might be considered legitimate by some…can be clearly described as violent. The Court therefore considered that the expressions used in the article in question…amounted to an apology or, at the very least, a justification for the violence.

ECHR Article: Article 10

Decision: No violation

Use of ‘hate speech’ by the Court in its assessment? No

Note! Translation from French to English is our own