Freedom of thought, conscience and religion by Jim Murdoch

By Jim Murdoch

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Germany, (1977) DR9, 196 For example, 32438/96, Stefanov v. Bulgaria (3 May 2001) (friendly settlement). For example, Thlimmenos v. Greece [GC], no. 34369/97, Reports 2000-IV. See also Tsirlis and Kouloumpas v. Greece, Reports 1997-III (violation of Article 5, but Article 9 issue avoided); but cf. Commission report of 7 March 1996 (opinion that there had been a violation of Article 14 read in conjunction with Article 9). situation could theoretically continue for the rest of his life. This had exceeded the inevitable degree of humiliation inherent in imprisonment and thus was deemed to have qualified as “inhuman” treatment on account of the premeditated, cumulative and long term effects of the repeated convictions and incarceration.

Furthermore, secularism also helped protect individuals from external pressure exerted by extremist movements. This role of the State as independent arbiter was also consistent with the jurisprudence of the Strasbourg Court under Article 9. The Strasbourg Court was also influenced by the emphasis on the protection of the rights of women in the Turkish constitutional system, a value also consistent with the key principle of gender equality underlying the European Convention on Human Rights. Any examination of the question of the prohibition upon wearing the Islamic headscarf had to take into consideration the impact which such a symbol may have on those who chose not to wear it if presented or perceived as a compulsory religious duty.

The domestic courts had assessed the criminal liability of the applicant merely by reiterating the statutory provision rather than spelling out why the means used by the applicant to try to persuade others had been inappropriate: The former corresponds to true evangelism, which a report drawn up in 1956 under the auspices of the World Council of Churches describes as an essential mission and a responsibility of every Christian and every Church. The latter represents a corruption or deformation of it.

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