Turkey’s top court says banning Kurdish publications in prisons violates freedom of expression

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Silivri Prison in İstanbul has become a symbol of Turkey, the biggest jailer of journalists around the world. / AFP PHOTO / Yasin AKGUL

Turkey’s Constitutional Court on Tuesday said preventing inmates’ access to certain newspapers and magazines is a “violation of freedom of expression,” the Artı Gerçek news website reported.

Inmates from at least 15 prisons applied to the top court after prison management refused to distribute Kurdish dailies and magazines, including Özgür Gündem, Özgür Halk, Azadiya Welat, Özgürlükçü Demokrasi, Serxwebun, Demokratik Ulus and Atılım, although the prisoners paid for them.

The administration accused the publications of disseminating propaganda for the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) terrorist group.

The Constitutional Court also ordered the Turkish government to pay TL 500 ($83) in damages to each of the inmates.

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