Karaduman and Others v. Turkey (8810/03)

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Date 20080617
Article 3, 5
Decision violation

Violations of Article 3 (treatment and investigation)

Violation of Article 5 §§ 1 (c), 4 and 5

Karaduman and Others v. Turkey (no. 8810/03)

The applicants, Remzi Karaduman, Uğur Uşar and Reşat Uşar, are Turkish nationals who were born in 1966, 1976 and 1967.

On 26 July 2002 they were arrested and taken into police custody, first at Ankara police headquarters and then at the police headquarters in Diyarbakır, on suspicion of belonging to the illegal organisation Hizbullah (Party of God). They were placed in pre-trial detention on 30 July 2002 and taken to Diyarbakır Prison. On 1 August 2002 the applicants were taken back to the police headquarters for further questioning over ten days. They underwent a number of medical examinations. Some of the medical reports referred to marks and injuries on the bodies of the applicants, whilst others did not. The administrative investigation into the circumstances of their police custody in Ankara was set aside as requiring no further action, and the only police officer charged was acquitted by the Ankara Criminal Court. The proceedings are still pending in respect of the police custody in Diyarbakır. Relying on Articles 3 (prohibition of inhuman or degrading treatment) and 5 (right to liberty and security), the applicants complained of the circumstances surrounding their detention in police custody.

The Court noted a number of discrepancies between the medical reports that had been drawn up, and considered, in the absence of a plausible explanation by the Government for those discrepancies, that the medical examinations had not been conducted properly. Accordingly, the Court held that the injuries recorded in the applicants’ case, for which the Government had provided no explanation, amounted to a violation of Article 3. It also considered that the authorities had not undertaken an effective investigation into the allegations of ill-treatment suffered by the applicants while they were in police custody, which also constituted a violation of Article 3.

The Court noted, further, that it had previously examined similar cases and found violations of Article 5 §§ 1 and 4 of the Convention in that the applicants had been handed back to the police for questioning after being placed in pre-trial detention, thus circumventing the applicable legislation on the periods that could be spent in police custody, and on account of the lack of effective judicial review. It therefore held unanimously that there had been a violation of Article 5 §§ 1 (c) and 4. The Court noted, lastly, that in the circumstances of the case the applicants could not rely on the legislation providing for an award of compensation for unlawful arrest or unwarranted detention, in breach of Article 5 § 5.

The Court awarded EUR 10,000 to Remzi Karaduman, EUR 5,000 to Uğur Uşar and EUR 8,000 to Reşat Uşar in respect of non-pecuniary damage, and EUR 2,000 to the applicants jointly, less the EUR 850 paid by the Council of Europe by way of legal aid, for costs and expenses. (The judgment is available only in French.)