The applicant, Veli Karaahmed, is a Bulgarian national who was born in 1976 and lives in Sofia. His case concerned a demonstration by members of the Ataka political party outside the Banya Bashi Mosque in Sofia and the official investigations into this incident.
In May 2011 Ataka organised a demonstration outside Sofia’s only mosque during Friday prayers. In particular, between 100 and 150 members and supporters of Ataka gathered to protest against what they called “howling” coming from the mosque’s loudspeakers. Mr Karaahmed was among the worshippers. The demonstration degenerated into violence with protestors shouting abuse at the worshippers. Police were present and intervened when fighting broke out. The police opened three investigations into the incident. The first two were suspended without anyone being charged. Seven people were charged as a result of the third investigation, although no information was provided as to whether they were prosecuted. The city prosecutor also opened an investigation: that investigation is ongoing and to date no charges have been bought.
Mr Karaahmed complained that the authorities’ response both during the demonstration and after it had been inadequate. He relied in particular on Article 9 (freedom of thought, conscience and religion) of the Convention.
- Violation of Article 9
- Just satisfaction: € 3,000 (non-pecuniary damage) and € 4,668 (costs and expenses)
Press release ECHR 063 (2015) 24/02/2015