Turkey: Court ruling boosts freedom of speech

A Turkish court freed a writer of charges for criticising compulsory military service, after pressure from the Commission.

Perihan Magden, a Turkish writer and columnist was freed of charges for arguing that conscientious objection to serving in the army was a human right. The article raised much criticism in Turkey. With her statements, the author defended a conscientious objector sentenced to four years after refusing to wear his uniform. Military service is mandatory in Turkey for all men over the age of 20.

Human rights groups have welcomed the ruling, saying it marked a victory for freedom of speech.

Charges were finally dropped against the writer, after the EU had called on Turkey, a month earlier, to amend a controversial article in its penal code and ensure freedom of expression. Had she been convicted, she faced up to three years in jail.

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