European court says Turk had right to deny Armenia genocide

15th October 2015, Comments 0 comments

The European Court of Human Rights ruled on Thursday that a Turkish politician had the right to deny that the mass killing of Armenians by Ottoman Turkey in 1915 was genocide.

The ECHR judges ruled by 10 votes to seven that Dogu Perincek should never have been convicted of racial discrimination by a Swiss court for saying that the "Armenian genocide is a great international lie".

Perincek, chairman of the Patriotic Party, was convicted and fined by the Swiss court in 2007, which the ECHR ruled was an infringement on his right to free speech.

In its judgement, the court said his statements related to an issue of "public interest and did not amount to a call for hatred or intolerance... and could not be regarded as affecting the dignity of the members of the Armenian community to the point of requiring a criminal law response."

The court made a distinction with Holocaust denial, whose specific history meant it could always be "seen as a form of incitement to racial hatred".

© 2015 AFP

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