Lifetime prisoner wins case against Turkey at ECHR
The European Court of Human Rights has fined Turkey 11,200 euros for failing to provide adequate legal assistance while Önder Çarkçı was in custody, violating his right to a fair trial. AFP PhotoThe European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) has fined Turkey 11,200 euros for failing to provide adequate legal assistance while Önder Çarkçı, who is now serving a lifetime sentence, was in custody. It also stated that his right to a fair trial within a reasonable time period was violated.
Çarkçı, 41, was accused of participating in an armed robbery of an Istanbul jewelry shop on July 17, 1996, during which the shop owner was shot dead.
Çarkçı was admitted to hospital unconscious after being shot during the incident, but before he was discharged from hospital the gendarmerie took his statement in which he confessed to taking part in the robbery and to using a gun after the shop owner opened fire.
He claimed that he was subsequently taken into custody and the charges of armed robbery and murder against him were joined to a separate set of charges, including allegations that he was a member of the Turkish People’s Liberation Party/Front (THKP-C).
Çarkçı, who is being held in the Kandıra Prison in the northwestern province of Kocaeli, claimed at court that he had not been involved in the robbery. He said he had only opened fire because he thought he was being attacked as he heard gunshots while passing by the shop.
Ultimately, on May 30, 2008, an Istanbul court, based on his statements at hospital, convicted him of attempting to undermine the constitutional order by force as a member of the THKP-C. Çarkçı was sentenced to life imprisonment without the possibility of parole, in a judgment that was upheld on appeal on March 11, 2009.