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ECtHR Challenges Turkey Over ByLock Convictions: 1,000 Cases Scrutinized for Fair Trial Violations

The European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) has notified the Turkish government of 1,000 applications challenging convictions based on the use of the ByLock messaging app. This development is a follow-up to the court’s earlier Yüksel Yalçınkaya/Turkey decision.

The ECtHR’s announcement marked a significant step in addressing concerns over the fairness of convictions tied to ByLock, an encrypted messaging application. These cases, part of a larger group of over 8,000, raise questions about the legality of using such evidence for terrorism-related charges.

The cases revolve around allegations that individuals using ByLock were wrongfully convicted of belonging to armed terrorist organizations. The Court’s Registrar released a statement detailing the communication of these cases to Turkey, highlighting the court’s ongoing scrutiny of these convictions.

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In an unprecedented move, the court shared the names and numbers of these cases on its website, providing transparency in a matter that has drawn international attention.

The ECtHR’s statement clarified that while decisions on these cases are pending, the fundamental issues concerning the right to a fair trial and the principle of no punishment without law, as outlined in the European Convention on Human Rights, have been substantially addressed in a previous landmark ruling, Yüksel Yalçınkaya/Turkey.

The applicants, all Turkish citizens, have raised concerns that their convictions, based primarily on accusations of membership in the Gülen Movement and the use of ByLock, may have violated their rights under the European Convention. This situation underscores the ongoing tension between national security measures and individual rights in the digital age.

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