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Imrek v. Turkey, No. 45975/12, ECtHR (Second Section), 10 November 2020


Conviction for propaganda for a terroristic organisation as member of the organising committee of a demonstration. Violation of the right to freedom of expression.

Normative references

Art. 10 ECHR


1. The right not to incriminate oneself, albeit not explicitly mentioned under article 6, mirrors a generally recognised international standard which lies at the heart of the notion of a fair procedure under the same provision. The fairness of the process and the procedural safeguards are factors to be considered when evaluating whether an interference with the right to freedom of expression has been proportionate within the meaning of article 10.

2. The organisers of a demonstration would not be responsible for actions committed by others if they did not participate directly or indirectly in it, for example by refraining from intervening with warnings or injunctions to stop shouting illegal slogans. The organisers of an illegal demonstration can escape criminal liability through their pacifying behaviours.
(The applicant, secretary of the local branch of a political party, was convicted for propaganda in favour of a terrorist organization. He was charged as member of the organizing committee of a demonstration for the acts committed by some demonstrators and for a speech he delivered during it. He complained about the violation of his right to freedom of expression. The Court found a violation of article 10 in that the motivation adduced by national authorities to demonstrate the applicant’s responsibility for the other demonstrators’ acts was not sufficient and relevant, and that the interference was not necessary in a democratic society. Domestic authorities had also overlooked the examination of the context, the content and the potential harmfulness to show that the conduct had constituted incitement to violence, armed resistance, or hate speech).