Wednesday, June 08, 2016

European Court Says Turkish Objector Not Covered By European Convention on Human Rights

In Enver Aydemir v. Turkey, (ECHR, June 7, 2016) (full text of opinion in French), the European Court of Human Rights in a Chamber Judgment held that Article 9 (Freedom of thought, conscience and religion) of the European Convention on Human Rights does not protect a Turkish conscientious objector.  Enver Aydemir asserted that he objects to military service for the secular Republic of Turkey, but would serve under a system based on the Qur'an and subject to its rules. A press release by the Court summarized the Court's reasoning:
Mr Aydemir’s complaints did not involve a form of manifestation of a religion or belief through worship, teaching, practice or observance within the meaning of Article 9 § 1. Accordingly, the Court concluded that Mr Aydemir’s opposition to military service was not such as to entail the applicability of Article 9 of the Convention, and that the evidence before it did not suggest that his stated beliefs included a firm, fixed and sincere objection to participation in war in any form or to the bearing of arms.
The Court did find, however, that Mr. Ayedmir was subjected to inhuman and degrading treatment in violation of Article 3 of the ECHR in the investigation of charges against him, charges brought against him and mistreatment of him during confinement. The Court awarded Ayedmir damages of 15000 Euros plus 3000 Euros for costs and expenses.