Mehmet Şahin and Others v. Turkey (5881/02)
Violation of Article 5 § 3
Mehmet Şahin and Others v. Turkey (no. 5881/02)
The four applicants, Mehmet Şahin, Ali Ekber Çağlan, Sedat Serçik and Özgür Barış Mercan, are Turkish nationals who were born in 1964, 1973, 1971 and 1978 respectively.
They were arrested in April 2001 on suspicion of belonging to an illegal organisation, the PKK (Workers’ Party of Kurdistan). After nine days in police custody they were placed in pre-trial detention and charged with membership of and aiding and assisting the PKK. In October 2002 they were acquitted. Relying in particular on Article 5 § 3 (right to liberty and security), they complained that the length of their detention in police custody had been excessive. In addition, under Article 3 (prohibition of inhuman or degrading treatment), Mr Şahin alleged that he had been ill-treated while in police custody at a gendarmerie post.
The Court considered that the evidence submitted to it by Mr Şahin was not such as to enable it to establish that he had been ill-treated as alleged. In the absence of a firmer basis for his allegations, it considered that Mr Şahin could not criticise the judicial authorities for failing to discharge their obligation to conduct an “effective investigation”. Consequently, that part of the application was declared inadmissible.
As regards the complaint concerning the length of detention in police custody, the Court did not consider it to have been necessary to detain the applicants for nine days before they were “brought before a judge”. It accordingly held unanimously that there had been a violation of Article 5 § 3 and awarded each of the applicants EUR 2,500 for non-pecuniary damage and EUR 1,500 to the applicants jointly for costs and expenses (less EUR 850 paid by the Council of Europe in legal aid). (The judgment is available only in French.)