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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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European Court of Human Rights finds Turkey in violation for failing to protect life of abducted man

The European Court of Human Rights yesterday found Turkey in breach of Articles 2 and 3 of the European Convention of Human Rights (ECHR) in the KHRP-assisted case of Osmanoğlu v Turkey.

The case was brought to the Court by Mr Muhyettin Osmanoğlu, whose son           Mr Atilla Osmanoğlu was allegedly detained by Turkish police and subsequently disappeared in March 1996.   Mr Osmanoğlu alleged that his son was detained at his grocery shop by two armed men who represented themselves as police officers.  The officers allegedly led his son to a car and told him that his son was being escorted to police headquarters.   

When Mr Osmanoğlu’s son failed to return the following day, he petitioned the offices of the governor and chief prosecutor at the State Security Court.  The Turkish government submitted that the prosecutor did not initiate an investigation, since Mr Osmanoğlu’s son was not shown on police custody records as having been detained.

The European Court of Human Rights today found Turkey responsible for failing to protect the life of Mr Osmanoğlu’s son (Article 2) and for inhuman and degrading treatment towards Mr Osmanoğlu (Article 3). 

The European Court of Human Rights held that Turkish authorities had not fulfilled their obligations in taking immediate steps to protect the life of Mr Osmanoğlu’s son.  The Court found that the failure to carry out an investigation amounted not only to an “illogical decision-making process”, but also served to undermine existing Turkish laws protecting the individual’s right to liberty.   It concluded that Turkey had failed to take reasonable measures to prevent a “real and immediate risk” to the life of Atilla Osmanoğlu.

The Court further held that Mr Osmanoğlu “suffered, and continues to suffer, distress and anguish” from his son’s disappearance and the failure of authorities to take sufficient action, which amounted to inhuman and degrading treatment.

On receiving the news of the judgment, KHRP Executive Director Kerim Yildiz stated: “This case is indicative of innumerable cases taken before the ECtHR pertaining to the disappearances and deaths of Kurdish civilians taken into custody in Turkey in the 1990s. Though it is disappointing that Turkish state agents were not held directly responsible for Attila Osmanoğlu’s disappearance, KHRP is very happy that after nearly twelve years the Turkish state has been held responsible for endangering his life, and for its shabby treatment of the Osmanoğlu family”.