“Academics for Peace“ and their Freedom of Expression

The ‘Academics for Peace Petition’, published in January 2016, was signed by around two thousand academics from both Turkey and from abroad. The petition raised concerns, using strong language, about the conduct of Turkish security forces in their counter-terrorism operations carried out in response to violent actions by the PKK terrorist group and their supporters  in south-east Turkey in the summer of 2015. One signatory,  Füsun Üstel, professor of political science, was found guilty of committing the crime of terrorist propaganda under Article 7(2) of the Turkish Counter Terrorism Law and now faces fifteen months of imprisonment. The constitutional protection of Üstel’s freedom of expression has not been respected by the court in its judicial reasoning. 

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A Constitutional Court Silencing its Critics

After twenty years of operation, the Thai Constitutional Court has finally got its first statute that lays out details of procedural rules. The Organic Act on the Procedure of the Constitutional Court B.E. 2561 (2018) is long overdue. A decade of political chaos had prevented the Parliament from passing the law until the military took power in 2014. The junta-appointed National Legislative Assembly expected it to facilitate the Court through the foreseeably turbulent future. Ironically, turbulences might come from the law itself.

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Wo für Straßburg der Spaß aufhört

Spiegeleier auf der Flamme des Grabmals des Unbekannten Soldaten braten ist eine krasse Form des Protests – aber so krass, dass sie mit drei Jahren Gefängnis auf Bewährung bestraft werden darf, ohne die Meinungsfreiheit zu verletzen? In seinem Urteil Sinkova v. Ukraine zeigt sich der EGMR außerstande, satirischem Protest gegen staatliche Erinnerungspolitik den nötigen Spielraum zu verschaffen.

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Is the Crime in the Eye of the Beholder?

The French Constitutional Council has, for the second time, struck down a law that prohibits the usual consultation of terrorist websites. There is a higher abstract risk associated to the act of publishing a message than in the isolated act of reading it. Focusing on the prevention of the harm likely to be inflicted by the reader of the websites might not be the only way to deal with this statute, though.

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Criticizing the new President of the Polish Constitutional Court: A Crime against the State?

L’état c’est moi. Thus said France’s Louis XIV, and thus seems to think of herself Julia Przyłębska – since the 2016 “coup” against the Constitutional Court in Poland, she is the President of that Court, de facto appointed to the post by the man who runs Poland these days, Jarosław Kaczyński. Last October a Polish oppositional daily, Gazeta Wyborcza, described how she allegedly colluded with the Polish State security in the pursuit of her position at the Constitutional Court. Przyłębska tried to defend herself by using criminal-law instruments otherwise designed to  protect the State. "By attacking me, you attack the State,” she seems to suggest.

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Inhalt und Schranken der Kunstfreiheit

Der Beschluss des Ersten Senats des Bundesverfassungsgerichts vom 13. Juni 2007 betreffend den Roman Esra von Maxim Biller ist die zur Zeit letzte grundlegende Entscheidung des Bundesverfassungsgerichts zu Inhalt und Grenzen der verfassungsrechtlich verbürgten Kunstfreiheit (Art. 5 Abs. 3 GG). Zum Teil wiederholt und bestätigt das Bundesverfassungsgericht darin schon früher getätigte Aussagen und aufgestellte Grundsätze, […]

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Ist Breitbart News ein Kunstprojekt?

In gewisser Weise scheint die Esra-Entscheidung zehn Jahre nach ihrer Verkündung schon aus einer anderen Zeit zu stammen. Die Problemlage, der sich das Bundesverfassungsgericht hier zu stellen hatte, unterschied sich nicht grundsätzlich von derjenigen, die dem 30 Jahre zuvor getroffenem Mephisto-Urteil zugrunde lag: Ein klassischer Roman, in dem der Autor persönliche Erlebnisse verarbeitet, stößt auf […]

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The Spanish Constitutional Court on the Path of Self-Destruction

Recently, the Spanish Constitutional Court has published one more decision in application of the new reform of the Law on Constitutional Court which increased its powers for the execution of its own decisions. It is clear that Catalonian sovereignist politicians are acting irresponsibly and provoking the Spanish powers. The only good way to answer to this challenge is a balanced and neutral response of the Constitutional Court every time they adopt an illegal act. Instead, the Court assumed a political role. He tries to stop even any talk about independence. By doing so, it fails to respect its own role as keeper of a Constitutional framework where very diverse ideologies can be discussed.

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Can private undertakings hide behind “religious neutrality”?

Is the pursuit of religious neutrality an acceptable aim for public and private organisations alike, on the basis of which they may prohibit their employees from wearing religious signs or apparel whilst at work? In two pending cases before the CJEU, the Advocates General seem to arrive at opposite conclusions on this point. To solve this puzzle, I think it is crucial to see that there are two radically different reasons why a private-sector company may wish to adopt an identity of religious neutrality, which reflect two distinct types of interest a company may have in religious neutrality: a business interest and an interest as a member of society.

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