European Court Says Turkish Voting Laws Restrictive

STRASBOURG (UPI) 18.9.2013 –  The European Court of Human Rights said Tuesday voting restrictions for persons convicted of crimes in Turkey are too severe.

 The court was scheduled to issue a judgment Tuesday in the case of Soyler v. Turkey.Turkish national Ahmet Soyler began serving a five-year prison term in 2007 for trying to cash checks without sufficient funds to back them. He was released on probation after serving two years in prison.

Soyler wasn’t allowed to vote in 2007 general elections. He brought his case to the court when he was not allowed to vote in 2011 elections, after his conditional release from prison. “The court found in particular that the ban on convicted prisoners’ voting rights in Turkey was automatic and indiscriminate and did not take into account the nature or gravity of the offense, the length of the prison sentence or the prisoner’s individual conduct or circumstances,” it said in a statement. Turkey aspires to a closer relationship with the European Union. The EU expressed concern about Turkey’s political culture, expressing concern over a crackdown on summer protests. Turkish extends prohibitions to the end of the original sentence, or April 2012 in the case of Soyler. The European court said Tuesday its ruling wasn’t final.