Pro-life advocate wins free speech case at European Court of Human Rights
What’s at Stake:
The right to freedom of expression
Klaus Annen is a pro-life advocate and has been for many years. He campaigns peacefully outside facilities where abortions take place, distributing leaflets and displaying signs. He also creates online content that draws attention to the facts about abortion. When Klaus mentioned two abortion providers by name in his materials, they accused him of violating their right to a reputation.
The German courts never found Klaus guilty of making a false statement. But they did decide that the so-called “personality rights” of the abortion providers were more important than Klaus’ freedom of speech. As a result, he was restricted from freely continuing his campaign.
When Klaus’ case reached the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) in 2013, ADF International presented legal arguments to the court on behalf of Germany’s largest pro-life organization, Aktion Lebensrecht für Alle.
The legal arguments pointed out the right to freedom of expression under the European Convention on Human Rights, and that a decision against Annen would have consequences for freedom of speech across Germany, and possibly all of Europe.
In an important victory for free speech, the ECHR ruled in Annen’s favour on 26 November 2015. The Court’s landmark decision upheld Klaus’ right to freedom of expression under the Convention and ordered Germany to pay damages for violating Annen‘s right to freedom of speech.
Our Role in the Case
ADF International was given permission to present legal arguments to the European Court of Human Rights on behalf of the largest pro-life organization in Germany, Aktion Lebensrecht für Alle.