Call to Abolish Article Restricting Freedom of Speech

North Cyprus News - Gavel - scales

Wednesday, 30  August 2023

The Republican Turkish Party (CTP) has submitted its proposals for amendments to the Penal Code and the Military Offences Law to the Speaker of the Assembly, Yeniduzen.

Among the amendments requested is the complete abolishment of Article 26 of the Military Offences and Penalties Law, under which journalist Ali Kişmir will be tried with a recommendation of 10 years in prison

In the amendment proposal, it was stated that Article 26, which is subtitled “insult and defamation of moral personality”, “harbours serious dangers in terms of personal rights and freedoms“.

In a statement released by the CTP, it was emphasised that, except for incitement to violence and hate crimes, people who exercise natural right to freedom of speech should not be subjected to criminal sanctions, a  liberty which is generally accepted in modern democracies.

It was stated that the proposals in question were presented within the framework of modern legal principles without hindering the right to appeal to the Court against allegations of “insult and blasphemy” and added: “It has been one of the most fundamental principles that political figures should be more tolerant towards criticism directed against them, taking into account their political responsibilities and the breadth of their means of response“.

Speaking to Yeniduzen on the content of the amendment proposals, CTP Secretary General Asım Akansoy said that the work on the proposals was prepared with a libertarian understanding by consulting the views of stakeholders and was shaped on the basis that freedom of thought is the right of every individual.

The lawsuit against Kişmir has made the urgent issue even more urgent“, he said.

Emphasising that the current penal code contains a regulation that is far behind today’s modern law and human rights in many aspects, Akansoy said that the starting point of the current law was prepared during the British colonial period in order to protect the Queen, the British Government and the Colonial Government.

Akansoy emphasised that although the boundaries of these regulations, which include concepts such as ‘mischievous intent’ (destructive intent), have been significantly narrowed with the amendments made in 2007, the boundaries of these concepts in the Penal Code should be re-evaluated today.


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