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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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Turkey Found Responsible for Police Brutality at ECtHR

On Tuesday 8 January the European Court of Human Rights found Turkey in breach of Article 3 of the European Convention for the protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms (ECHR) in the KHRP-assisted case of Ayaz v Turkey.

The case concerns the arrest and torture of Mr Ercan Ayaz by Turkish border police at Atatürk Airport in Istanbul in 1993.  Mr Ayaz was physically and sexually assaulted by police whilst in detention.  A doctor from a human rights organisation in Istanbul who examined Mr. Ayaz on his release confirmed that he had suffered spinal bruising, abdominal pain and superficial scratches. The Bakırköy Institute of Forensic Medicine made similar findings.

The European Court of Human Rights found that Mr Ayaz was the victim of police brutality, and thus held Turkey responsible for inhuman and degrading treatment (in violation of Article 3 ECHR).

Mr Ayaz had initially made a criminal complaint before the provincial administrative council in Turkey, however criminal proceedings were later discontinued. The Council instead, accused Mr Ayaz of seeking to tarnish the image of Turkish police.  The order to discontinue proceedings was later upheld by the Supreme Administrative Court.  A police disciplinary inquiry also accused Mr Ayaz of inflicting the injuries on himself after his release.  In light of the medical findings available the European Court of Human Rights said that it was not persuaded by such explanations for Mr Ayaz’s injuries.

On receiving news of the judgment KHRP Executive Director Kerim Yildiz stated “Tuesday’s judgement finally provides Mr Ayaz with justice and redress following degrading treatment that was all-too-common in Turkish gaols and police cells in the 1990s. Sadly, despite recent reforms, torture remains an ongoing practice in Turkey.  However, the means and methods have become less physically detectable, and the justifications are often cloaked in the language of the war on terror.  We must continue to be vigilant and oppose all forms of torture and disabuse the notion that the indiscriminate use of force or violence can ever be justified.”