|Unprecedented Euro Ct ruling condemns Turkey for prosecuting human rights lawyer|
Unprecedented European Court ruling condemns Turkey for prosecuting human rights lawyer in "disappearances" case
CEMILE SARLI v TURKEY (DISAPPEARANCE)
For immediate release - 23rd May 2001
In its ruling yesterday, the European Court of Human Rights found the Turkish State guilty of interfering with a Kurdish woman's application to the Court by deliberately initiating criminal proceedings against the human rights lawyer who represented her.
The Sarli case, which was brought to the European Commission on behalf of applicant Cemile Sarli by the Kurdish Human Rights Project in 1994, centres on the disappearance of the applicant's son and daughter, Ramazan and Cemile Sarli, in Southeast Turkey on 24 December 1993. In addition to supporting Mrs. Sarli's claim that the Turkish State failed to properly investigate her children's disappearances, the Court's ruling also represents a victory for the Human Rights Association (IHD) lawyer from Diyarbakir, Mahmut Sakar, who was subjected to unjust legal prosecution by Turkey during the time he represented Mrs. Sarli. In its judgment, the European Court acknowledged that Mr. Sakar was unjustly charged with making propaganda against the State by submitting Mrs. Sarli's application to the European Commission. This is the first such decision of the Court.
In its 22 May 2001 judgment, the Court found Turkey to be in violation of Article 13 (right to an effective remedy) and Article 34 (formerly Article 25 § 1 - not to hinder the right to make an individual application) of the European Convention on Human Rights. Under Article 41 (just satisfaction), the Court awarded Mrs. Sarli £23,000 in damages and legal costs.
NOTES FOR EDITORS:
1. The Kurdish Human Rights Project works for the promotion and protection of human rights within the Kurdish regions of Turkey, Iraq, Iran, Syria and the former Soviet Union.
2. The case of Sarli v Turkey concerns the disappearance of Cemile and Ramazan Sarli in December 1994.
3. The application was made by the Kurdish Human Rights Project on 23 June 1994 on behalf of the applicant, Cemile Sarli, mother of Cemile and Ramazan Sarli.
4. The Court, in a judgment handed down on 22 May 2001, found Turkey to be in violation of Article 13 and 34 of the European Convention on Human Rights. No violation of Article 5 was found. Under Article 41 (just satisfaction), the Court awarded Mrs. Sarli £5,000 in non-pecuniary damage and £18,000 in legal costs.5. The European Court of Human Rights was set up in Strasbourg in 1959 to deal with alleged violations of the 1950 European Convention on Human Rights. On 1 November 1998 a full-time Court was established, replacing the original two-tier system of a part-time Commission and Court.