Demirbaş and Others v. Turkey (8722/07)
The applicants, Cem Demirbaş, born in 1977, and Haydar Ceylan and Binnaz Demirbaş, born in 1974, are Turkish nationals who live in Istanbul.
In April 1999 the applicants were arrested on suspicion of membership of an illegal organisation and placed in custody. They were released pending trial in February 2007; the criminal proceedings against them are still pending. Relying on Article 5 (right to liberty and security), all the applicants complained about the excessive length of their detention pending criminal proceedings and that they had no effective domestic remedy to challenge the lawfulness of their detention or an enforceable right to compensation. Further relying on Article 6 § 1 (right to a fair trial within a reasonable time) and Article 13 (right to an effective remedy), the applicants also all complained about the excessive length of the criminal proceedings against them. Mr Ceylan further alleged that, while in police custody, he was punched, kicked, subjected to falaka (beating on the soles of the feet), hosed with water and forced to remain standing for long periods, and that the authorities failed to punish those responsible, in breach of Article 3 (prohibition of inhuman or degrading treatment).
The Court considered that in the absence of a convincing explanation by the Government, Haydar Ceylan’s injuries recorded in three medical reports of April 1999 had been the result of treatment for which the Turkish Government had been responsible. The Court also concluded that the domestic authorities had not effectively investigated Haydar Ceylan’s allegations of ill-treatment. The Court therefore held unanimously that there had been a violation of Article 3 in respect of Haydar Ceylan. The Court further held that there had been a violation of Article 5 § 3 on account of the excessive length, almost seven years, of the applicants’ detention pending the criminal proceedings against them. The Court noted that the applicants had had no effective domestic remedy to challenge the lawfulness of their detention and no enforceable right to compensation for their excessively long detention, in violation of Article 5 §§ 4 and 5. In respect of non-pecuniary damage, the Court awarded EUR 17,500 to Haydar Ceylan and EUR 7,500, each, to Cem Demirbaş and Binnaz Demirbaş. For costs and expenses, it awarded EUR 1,250 to Haydar Ceylan, and EUR 1,000, each, to Cem Demirbaş and Binnaz Demirbaş. (The judgment is available only in English.)