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Kokkinakis v. Greece , (14307/88) [1993] ECHR 20 (25 May 1993).

Facts: a Jehovah's Witness was convicted for proselytism because he had "engaged in discussion" the wife of the cantor of the local Orthodox Church. The applicant was sentenced to imprisonment and a fine by the Greek Courts.

Complaint: there was a violation of article 9 of the European Convention.

Holding: There had been a violation of article 9 of the European Convention.

Reasoning: The sentence passed by the criminal court amounted to an interference with the exercise of the right to "freedom to manifest one's religion or belief." The conviction had been in pursuit of a legitimate aim namely the protection of the rights and freedoms of others. However, the Greek courts had not sufficiently specified in what way the accused had attempted to convince his neighbor by improper means. The applicant's conviction was justified by a pressing social need. The Court accepted that the right to try to persuade one's neighbor as to religious belief is included in the "right to manifest one's religion."

 

 

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