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The European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) has announced its judgement in the case filed by Hakan Soytemiz, whose officially appointed lawyer was removed from the interrogation room by the police officers after reminding Soytemiz of his right to remain silent.
The ECtHR has ruled that Turkey violated "the right to a free trial" of Soytemiz and shall pay pecuniary damages to him.
The police requested a new lawyer
Hakan Soytemiz was taken into custody on March 17, 2004 on charge of "aiding and abetting an illegal organization", namely the Turkish Revolutionary Party (TDP). One day after being detained, he agreed to be represented by an officially appointed lawyer.
During the police interrogation, as stated by Soytemiz, police officers removed his lawyer from the room after the lawyer reminded Soytemiz of his right to remain silent and intervened in interrogation with the allegation that the police were recording phrases that were not said by Soytemiz.
After this incident, the lawyer was not allowed to represent Soytemiz, who further claimed that "the police officers then coerced him into signing self-incriminating statement which he did not make while his lawyer was present."
On March 20, 2004, a new lawyer was appointed to Soytemiz upon the request of the police. In his second interrogation, he rejected the charges which were previously pressed against him.
Sentenced to 3 years at hearing without attorney
While Soytemiz was still in custody, a bill of indictment was prepared against him on charge of "aiding and abetting an illegal organization."
At the hearing of the lawsuit filed afterwards, Soytemiz stated that the police "had frequently recorded things that he had not said, as a result of which his lawyer had been removed from the interrogation."
At his hearing dated December 27, 2007, Soytemiz was sentenced to 3 years in prison. His hearing was attended by neither himself nor his lawyer.
Upon the rejection of his objections, he appealed to the ECtHR.
"His right to legal assistance was violated"
In its verdict dated November 27, the ECtHR ruled that "the right to a fair trial and right to legal assistance of own choosing" of Soytemiz were violated.
The court has ruled that Turkey shall pay 1,670 Euro to Hakan Soytemiz in pecuniary damages. (AS/SD)
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