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EU court rules against Turkey on press freedom case

A Turkish magazine fined for publishing comments from banned Kurdish separatist group the PKK won a victory when the European Court of Human Rights ruled that its right to freedom of expression had been breached.

STRASBOURG, France: A Turkish magazine fined for publishing comments from banned Kurdish separatist group the PKK won a victory on Tuesday when the European Court of Human Rights ruled that its right to freedom of expression had been breached.

The pro-Kurdish Dema Nu was hit by a number of judicial proceedings after publishing articles quoting the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK).

The party, which is blacklisted as a terrorist organisation by Turkey and much of the international community, launched an insurgency seeking self-rule in the southeast in 1984.

In 2002, the magazine was fined and closed for a week after publishing quotes criticising the government for rising unemployment in the Kurdish region and a ban on the Kurdish language.

On another occasion it was fined for publishing an account of fighting between the Turkish army and the PKK that allegedly echoed a statement by the separatists.

The European court said the penalties amounted to a violation of the right to freedom of expression.

It said the two articles in question did not contain any "call for violence, armed resistance, or uprising", and did not constitute "hate speech."

The court said the judges in Turkey that ruled against the magazine had done so "without any examination of the text" in question.

Judges ordered the Turkish authorities to pay a total of 6,000 euros (US$8,000) in compensation, although Turkey has three months to appeal.

Dema Nu, which has now ceased to publish, was based in Turkey's majority-Kurdish southeastern province of Diyarbakir

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