Top Europe rights court becomes target of cyber attack a day after ruling for Demirtaş's immediate release

The website for the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) was the target of a cyber attack a day after it ruled for the immediate release of pro-Kurdish Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP) former co-chair Selahattin Demirtaş. While the attack brought the website down for a while, it became accessible shortly after.

Kurdish politician Selahattin Demirtaş is seen during a demonstration in this file photo.

Duvar English

The website for the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) became temporarily inaccessible as a result of a cyber attack on Dec. 23, a day after the court released a ruling that Ankara should immediately release former pro-Kurdish Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP) co-chair Selahattin Demirtaş from prison.

"Following the delivery of the Selahattin Demirtas v. Turkey (no. 2) judgment on 22 December, the website of the European Court of Human Rights was the subject of a large-scale cyberattack which has made it temporarily inaccessible," the court said in a press release. 

The ECHR ruling was on an appeal by Turkey to a 2018 ruling by the top court that said Demirtaş' human rights were violated as a result of his extended detention in prison since Nov. 4, 2016. 

Demirtaş currently faces a sentence of up to 142 years in prison if convicted of being the leader of a terrorist organization over his speeches during the 2014 protests that turned violent and led to the deaths of 37 people. He denies any wrongdoing.

Kurdish opposition members in Turkey are often slammed with terrorism-related charges for their participation in any civil or political movement in relation to their ethnicity. Turkish prosecution is quick to deem their activity propaganda for the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK), considered a terrorist organization by Ankara, the European Union (EU) and the United States. 

President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan on Dec. 23 said that the ECHR ruling wasn't binding for Ankara, as the international court "couldn't rule over Turkish courts."

Erdoğan himself has petitioned the ECHR three times in the past, once to revert a 10-month prison sentence in 1998, then to get his record wiped in 2002, and lastly to become a deputy in parliament the same year.