Sunday, July 20, 2014

Turkey's Supreme Court Recognizes Hate Speech against Gays for the First Time

For the first time, hate speech on the ground of sexual orientation has taken part among the decisions of the Turkey's Supreme Court. The Court acknowledged that calling gays “perverse” is hate speech.

The case was brought by attorney Sinem Hun against a local news website for publishing an article in which she was called "the lawyer of the association of the perverts called Kaos GL". Kaos is a Turkish LGBT rights group.

The Supreme Court ruled that the website could not be penalised as the attack had been committed against the organisation and therefore did not breach the rights of the individual attorney. However it acknowledged that the text constituted hate speech.

The highest Turkish Court supported its decision by claiming that: "Unless there is a call for violence or hate speech that might damage pluralistic democracy and might even destroy it, punishment which limits individuals’ freedom should be avoided".

Examining the decision of the Office of the Chief Prosecutor, the Supreme Court admitted that hate speech regarding sexual tendencies are as serious as hate speech on the grounds of “race, ethnicity or color”. This decision is also a first in the Supreme Court cases on hate speech.

LGBT activist march in Istanbul

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