That the Freedom of Expression has Not Been Violated Due to the Disciplinary Punishment for the Hunger Strike Carried Out in the Penitentiary Institution


Applicants who are under arrest or convicted of terrorist crimes in the penitentiary institution have carried out a hunger strike with similar petitions and generally on the grounds that the leader of the terrorist organization is being kept in isolation. These actions were carried out on dates close to each other, and even some applicants took actions more than once, on different dates. Upon this, the penal enforcement agency initiated a disciplinary investigation against the applicants and other prisoners. As a result of the disciplinary investigation, it was decided to apply a disciplinary penalty against the applicants for putting them in a cell on the grounds that they committed the disciplinary act of carrying out the propaganda activities of criminal organizations. The applicants filed a complaint to the execution judge against the sentences in question. The execution judge’s office decided to accept the applicants’ complaint and to remove the disciplinary penalties. The chief public prosecutor’s office has appealed against the decisions of the execution judge. The high criminal court has decided to accept the appeal and annul the decisions.

The Allegations

The applicants claimed that their freedom of expression had been violated due to the disciplinary punishment imposed on the basis of the hunger strike they had carried out in the penitentiary institution.

The Court’s Assessment

Considering that the prisoners participating in the action in the concrete incident are convicted or imprisoned for terrorist crimes and are collectively on hunger strike for a matter that does not concern their personal situation, the undisputed symbol for the existence, goals and actions of the terrorist organization in question is the action that takes place around the name of a person and strengthens organizational motivation, glorifies the founder of the organization, it was assessed that the organization and its founder are related to an activity aimed at announcing the name of the person in the execution facility and other people to whom information about the hunger strike can be transmitted, and spreading the meanings implied by this person’s name. Therefore, it has been concluded that the evaluation of the criminal organizations’ propaganda activities does not involve arbitrariness and that there is a legal basis for disciplinary punishment against the applicants in this context.

On the other hand, the fact that penal institutions are special areas under the control of the state, so the state has an obligation to protect both the safety and health of those in this institution and to establish discipline, results in the fact that convicts and detainees do not have the freedom to act as they wish in penal institutions. It is obvious that hunger strike actions carried out by crowded groups, such as the concrete incident, will require taking a number of non-routine measures in the field of health and safety due to their nature and will prevent the maintenance of a regular life in prison institutions. Therefore, it should be considered reasonable to intervene in such actions in order to restore the broken order in the penitentiary institution and prevent hunger strikes from being carried out continuously.

As a result, when the reasons put forward to justify resorting to an exceptional way such as going on hunger strike were evaluated together, it was concluded that the applicants did not act in accordance with the responsibility required by being in a penal institution. Dec Jul It was concluded that the punishment given to the applicants fulfilled a mandatory need and that the balance between the expected benefit from the hunger strike and the provision of discipline in the penitentiary institution was achieved. On the other hand, when evaluated together with the share of appreciation of the penitentiary institution administration, it was accepted that the disciplinary punishment of placing the applicants in a cell for their actions was also proportionate, and for these reasons, the intervention was not contrary to the requirements of the democratic social order.

The Constitutional Court has decided that the freedom of expression has not been violated on the grounds described.


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