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Kurdish Human Rights Project: This is the legacy website of the Kurdish Human Rights Project, containing reports and news pertaining to human rights issues in the Kurdish Regions for 20 years.

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KHRP victory in Kurdish 'disappearance' case at European Court of Human Rights

A Kurdish woman whose husband was 'disappeared' in Turkey has won her case at the European Court of Human Rights, in the third successive KHRP case concerning disappearances to be decided by the Court since January (Nuray Sen v. Turkey).

On 28 March 2004, the Court held that Turkey had violated the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) for its failure to investigate the killing of Mehmet Sen, a mayoral candidate and leading member of the pro-Kurdish DEP party. His wife, Nuray Sen, was the director of the Mesopotamia Cultural Centre in Istanbul, which collates and exhibits the culture and art of the people in Mesopotamia, mainly Kurds.

Mehmet Sen was abducted on 26 March 1994 by two plain-clothes policemen. The next day his body was found abandoned. The deceased had been tortured and shot in the head.

KHRP took a case to the Court on behalf of the deceased and on behalf of his wife and daughter.

In its judgment, the Court acknowledged that a significant number of prominent Kurdish figures had been killed by unknown perpetrators at the material time. However, in the absence of sufficient corroborating evidence, the Court could not conclude beyond all reasonable doubt that Sen had been deliberately killed by state officials or by persons acting under their instruction.

Nonetheless, the Turkish Government was found to have violated the right to life for its failure to carry out an adequate and effective investigation into the circumstances surrounding the death (Article 2, ECHR).

The Court found an additional violation of the right to an effective remedy (Article 13).

A further KHRP case concerning the detention of Nuray Sen for eleven days before being brought before a judge was decided by the Court on 17 June 2003. The Court held that the Turkish Government could not justify the period of detention in question and that there had been a violation of Article 5.

KHRP will continue to monitor the Turkish Government's implementation of these and other judgments.


[1] The judgment of Nuray Sen v. Turkey (25354/94), 28 March 2004, is available from the European Court of Human Rights: