The European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) decided for a violation of the right to a fair trial in the case of Sultan Şaman because she was not allowed to speak Kurdish in the course of her interrogation. A Turkish court sentenced Şaman to imprisonment of six years and three months on charges of membership in the outlawed armed Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK).
Şaman is currently serving her sentence in the Buca Prison in Izmir. In the decision made on 5 April, the ECHR concluded that Article 6/1 of the European Convention on Human Rights (right to a fair trial) had been violated in Şaman's case. The ECHR handed down a compensation fine of € 1,800 to the Turkish government plus € 1,000 for cost and expenses.
In her application to the international court, Şaman put forward that she was illiterate and did not know the Turkish language very well. She said that during her time in police custody, she was deprived of seeing a lawyer or a translator. The ECHR recommended retrying the case in order to redress the unjust treatment.
The defence lawyers of the KCK trial regarding the alleged affiliation to the Union of Kurdistan Communities (KCK), the umbrella organization that includes the PKK, prepare to apply to ECHR as well. The Diyarbakır High Criminal Court dismissed their request for a defence in Kurdish as the mother language of most of the defendants. (ELV/EÖ)
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