European Union to pressure Turkey on its judicial system

European Union to pressure Turkey on its judicial system

BRUSSELS
European Union to pressure Turkey on its judicial system

Demonstrators protest the arrest of journalists. Lengthy detention periods are a significant problem despite measures taken to prevent them, a draft EU report says. DAILY NEWS photo, Emrah GÜREL

The European Union has prepared to release a judiciary report on Turkey this week criticizing the justice system, particularly the unreasonable periods of detention.

The EU Council’s report was prepared upon the visit of the Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights Thomas Hammarberg to Turkey in October.

“There are some functional problems that have continued for a long time and have affected the system negatively,” said the report, according to daily Hürriyet. The report also cites the problem of presumption of innocence not being used in court decisions when arresting suspects.

Problems in independence of judges and prosecutors

There are also problems in impartiality and independence of judges and prosecutors, said the report, which also criticized the prolonged periods of detentions and prosecutions. The report urged officials to use “release on bail” as an option instead of detention.

The European Court of Human Rights has made over 2,200 decisions against Turkey between 1995 and 2010.

Almost 700 of these decisions were about violating the right to a fair trial. More than 500 of the cases were about freedom and security of the people. The judicial reform strategy that started in 2009 to adjust the laws within the EU norms should be put into action, the report said.

Lengthy detention periods were still a significant problem despite measures taken to prevent them. The lack of compensation for the duration of detention or lack of access to a mechanism to fasten the prosecution also increases the judiciary problem, the report said.

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