The European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) send a list of questions to the Turkish government regarding the Bayrampaşa Trial related with the "Return to Life" operation carried out on 19 December 2000. "Was it necessary to resort to that degree of force during the Return to Life operation?" is one of the questions.
The ECHR accepted the application on the Bayrampaşa trial last year even though domestic remedies have not been exhausted yet. The application was made by the relatives of eleven out of twelve people who died in the course of the operation and 22 victims who survived the operation.
The application to the ECHR read, "Our right to life as defined by Article 2 of the European Convention on Human Rights was violated. We were tortured during the operation and also when we were taken to other prisons afterwards".
The victims stated that an effective investigation into the facts of the development of the operation had not been done. They also complaint about unfair trials opened against themselves after the operation. Furthermore, they criticized the lack of investigation about the high-rank officials on duty at the Bayrampaşa Prison at the time.
The case against 1,460 gendarmerie officers on charges of ill-treatment was closed by prescription on 23 June 2008.
"Were inmates tortured during transfer?"
Lawyer Oya Aslan informed bianet that this first list of questions was only covering the applications of the victims who survived the operation. A separate investigation will be launched upon the application of the relatives of the prisoners who died in the course of the operation and a separate list of questions will be prepared accordingly.
The Bayrampaşa Prison trial was opened ten years after the operation. The first hearing was held on 23 November 2010.
The ECHR requested a statement of Turkey while the domestic procedures are still pending. The international court demands answers to the following questions:
* Was the right to life violated during the operation in the Bayrampaşa Prison?
* Was the use of force that accepted the risk of life definitely necessary?
* If the use of violence was unavoidable, was the necessary protection provided?
* Did any torture occur during the operation and during the transfer to other prisons?
* Did the investigations carried out by internal authorities meet the requirements according to the "right to life"?
* Were the detainees entitled to write their complaints in an effective internal application?
* Was the condition of a "trial within a reasonable time" be applied for the criminal cases opened against the detainees?
Return to Life Operation
During the so-called "Return to Life" operation on 19-22 December 2000, the police violently ended the "death fasts" of hundreds of political prisoners who had protested against a transfer from large wardens to F-type cells with only 3 or 4 prisoners. Twelve detained and convicted prisoners died in the Bayrampaşa Prison (Istanbul) as one of the prisons involved in the operation. (AS/EÖ/VK)