IPANEWS

Top court says joining events of legal organization cannot prove terror links

Turkey’s Constitutional Court (AYM) has made a landmark ruling in overturning the conviction of Ahmet Urhan on charges of membership in a terrorist organization.

The top court has found it unlawful that a person’s attendance in activities of a legitimate organization was regarded as evidence for his conviction of terror-related charges, the Independent Turkish service reported on Friday.

Last month the AYM evaluated the individual application Urhan made in 2014, in the aftermath of his conviction of terror-related charges.

The Adana 6th Heavy Penal Court’s sentencing of Urhan in 2008 on charges of membership in a terrorist organization, due to him being a member of the Socialist Youth Association (SGD) was overturned by the AYM.

The top court also ruled that the case file be sent to the Hatay 2nd Heavy Penal Court for retrial.

Urhan was convicted of being a member of the extreme-left Marxist-Leninist Communist Party (MLKP), which is listed as a terror organization by the Turkish government.

According to a report by Can Bursali from Independent Turkish, the AYM on Friday published its reasoned decision, saying that the conviction based on participation in the events of a legal organization such as the SGD violates the freedom of association regulated in Article 33 of the Constitution.

The top court also stated that it was inexplicable for the local court to regard the left-wing SDG, which is acknowledged as a legal organization in Turkey, as an “extension of the MLKP terrorist organization” based on a police report saying SDG has links to the MLKP group.

The Adana court’s ruling “did not make a satisfactory explanation on how it is possible within the laws that an organization can both operate under the law and be an extension of the terrorist organization,” AYM said.

The top court also argued that the local heavy penal court failed to provide any evidence or justification for arguing that “the MLKP is involved in illegal activities under the name of the SGD.”

AYM further explained that the local court’s ruling in the case does not state that Urhan has acted in the interests of “the MLKP terrorist organization” by taking part in SGD’s activities.

Following an attempted coup on July 15, 2016, the Turkish state has shut down hundreds of associations through government decrees over their alleged links to terror organizations.

The Turkish authorities also jailed thousands of people over membership in those organizations.

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