The European Court Human Rights (ECHR) pronounced their verdict yesterday on the case of Yüksel Yiğitdoğan who had applied 15 years ago claiming he faced ill treatment and torture in detention.
Turkey was convicted for violating “prohibition of inhuman or degrading treatment” in European Declaration on Human Rights (EDHR) Article 3 on account of lack of active investigation, and for violating Article 6 § 1 regulating “right to a fair trial.”
ECHR ruled for Yiğitdoğan to be paid EUR 16,000 for non-pecuniary damages and EUR 2,000 for costs and expenses.
Testifying in detention without a lawyer
Yiğitdoğan, aged 46, is currently serving a sentence of aggravated life imprisonment in Kocaeli Type F Prison handed in 2008 for membership of an illegal organization and involvement in several armed acts.
Police detained Yiğitdoğan on July 25, 1999 in İzmir province for being a member of illegal organization Union of Revolutionary Communists of Turkey (TİKB). Police proceedings recorded that he was detained “using force.”
The report given in İzmir Atatürk Hospital where he was taken the same day as well as the next day stated he had no marks of physical violence on his body. Yiğitdoğan was taken to Istanbul Security Headquarters Fight against Terror Branch. The ECfHR verdict stated that Yiğitdoğan said he received ill treatment and torture there.
Sent to Istanbul on July 27, 1999, Yiğitdoğan remained in custody for four days, after which prosecution obtained three extra days in custody from İstanbul State Security Court. His statement was taken in the absence of a lawyer.
He received a physical examination in Haseki Hospital on August 1, 1999. According to the medical report, he only had a small injury on his right elbow.
He testified in the prosecutor’s office that his testimony in Police Headquarters was exacted under torture.
Yiğitdoğan alleged that he had been severely beaten during his arrest and then, when transferred to Istanbul Security Headquarters for seven days he had been subjected to electric shocks, hung by the arms, hosed with cold water and sexually assaulted.
He applied to ECHR when his indictments and formal complaints of torture resulted in verdicts of non-prosecution.
ECfHR declared their verdict today. The court ruled that there had been no effective investigation into the applicant’s allegations of ill treatment and torture.
Furthermore, the court decided that Yiğitdoğan’s right to a fair trial stipulated in Article 6 § 1 of the ECHR had been violated on account of the lack of legal assistance afforded to the applicant while in police custody.
Turkey will pay Yiğitdoğan EUR 16,000 for non-pecuniary damages and EUR 2,000 for court charges. (AS/PU/BM)
* Click here to read the article in Turkish.
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