STRASBOURG–France (Reuters)–The European Court of Human Rights ruled against Turkey on Tuesday for banning the Kurdish People’s Labor Party (HEP) nine years ago.
Ankara’s Constitutional Court outlawed the party in 1993 for promoting Kurdish separatism–which is banned by Turkish laws–and for "undermining the integrity of the State" through alleged links with armed militants.
The Strasbourg-based court ruled the ban on the party flouted European human rights laws on freedom of association.
The court said in a statement there was no proof the party had posed a threat to democracy–or that it was linked to armed Kurdish groups.
It was the fourth time since 1998 the court has ruled against Turkey over the banning of a political party.
Turkey’s Constitutional Court has banned 14 parties since the present constitution was passed in 1983 following a three-year period of military rule.
The European court awarded the applicants–senior HEP officials–40,000 euros ($35,000) in damages and legal costs.