European Court fines Turkey for torture under police custody

ISTANBUL – Hürriyet Daily News – 5.11.2013 –  The ECHR fined Turkey 20,000 euros for non-pecuniary damages and 2,000 euros for costs and expenses in the case of Mesut Deniz over his ill-treatment during detention.

 Deniz, 38, currently in Ankara’s Sincan prison, claimed that after his arrest on Oct. 5, 1999, the police subjected him to ill-treatment.

Relying in particular on Article 3 (the prohibition of inhuman or degrading treatment) and Article 13 (the right to an effective remedy), the ECHR decided that Deniz had been subjected to ill-treatment while in police custody, that the authorities had failed to carry out an effective investigation into these allegations, and that he had therefore been denied the opportunity to claim compensation.Deniz claimed that during custody the police tortured him, including giving him electric shocks, hanging him by his arms, beating him severely, twisting and squeezing his penis and making him lie on an icy surface, said the court in its explanation of the decision. Medical reports undertaken on the same day of arrest and during the following days all record a large number of injuries on Deniz’s body. An investigation was launched by a prosecutor in 2000, and a police officer was charged, but he was eventually acquitted in September 2007. Deniz attempted to appeal the decision, but the courts refused to allow him to do so because he had not made himself a civil party to proceedings. This refusal was upheld by Court of Cassation in May 2012.

Meanwhile, the European court also fined Turkey 7,000 euros in total for not properly investigating the allegations of torture that allegedly took place during the arrest of a minor in southeastern Turkey.

Cüneyt Ertuş claimed that he was ill-treated by the police during his arrest in the province of Hakkari in 1993, at a time when he was 15. He was charged with attending a demonstration in support of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK). Ertuş’s parents filed a criminal complaint against the officers involved in the arrest, but the Hakkari public prosecutor decided not to bring criminal proceedings. An objection against this decision and a claim for compensation were both dismissed.

In a third case, the ECHR ruled for Turkey to pay 6,500 euros to Kamuran Tüzün for violation of Article 3 of the Convention under its procedural limb. Tüzün complained that during his arrest in May 2006 in İzmir, officers had hit his head with a weapon, and that he had been beaten with truncheons and guns. The public prosecutor decided not to issue proceedings against the officers, and Tüzün’s objection to this ruling was dismissed in January 2007.