By Karwar Faidhi Dri
ERBIL, Kurdistan Region (Rudaw) — The European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) on June 13 ruled that Turkey should compensate a renowned Kurdish politician with more than $1,800 for punishing him after he mentioned the word “Kurdistan” during a parliamentary session.
Osman Baydemir, former lawmaker for the pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP), said during a Turkish parliament’s meeting in late 2017 that he represented Kurdistan. When he was asked by the deputy speaker of the legislature “Where is Kurdistan?” he replied “It is here,” clapping his hand on his heart. With this gesture, he won the hearts of many Kurds. The parliament banned him for two sessions and withheld two-thirds of his salary as a punishment.
The ECHR said in its ruling on Tuesday that Baydemir’s right to freedom of expression, protected by Article 10 of the European Convention on Human Rights, was violated.
“Everyone has the right to freedom of expression. This right shall include freedom to hold opinions and to receive and impart information and ideas without interference by public authority and regardless of frontiers,” stipulates the Article.
The European court decided that Turkey, which is a signatory of the Convention, should pay the 52-year-old Kurdish politician nearly €16,957 ($18,293): €1,400 for pecuniary damage, €9,750 for non-pecuniary damage, and €5,807 for costs and expenses.