Three Turkish men’s ‘right to fair trial’ violated through unlawful coercion: Euro court
STRASBOURGThe European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) ruled on Sept. 5 that three Turkish men’s right to a fair trial had been violated in 2003 and 2004, as the police unlawfully coerced them into confessing that they were “members of an illegal organization.”
The court said the Turkish police had accordingly violated Article Six of the European Convention on Human Rights regarding the cases of Bayram Koç, Ayhan Bozkaya and Mehmet Ali Türk, born in 1980, 1975 and 1972 respectively.
The three men complained to the ECHR about not having had access to a lawyer while being questioned by the police in 2003 and 2004, on suspicions, in particular, of membership in an illegal organization.
They all confessed, in the absence of a lawyer, to being members of an illegal organization and in the cases of Bozkaya and Türk, to having committed violent offenses in connection with their membership in these organizations.
During court hearings they later retracted parts of their confessions. All three applicants were convicted—Koç, of membership in an armed organization, and both Bozkaya and Türk for the offense of, in particular, seeking to remove part of the national territory from the Turkish state’s control—and were given prison sentences. Their convictions were eventually upheld by the Court of Cassation in 2010, 2009 and 2006, respectively.
The three men later complained to the ECHR that their right to a fair trial was violated because their convictions were based on confessions obtained through unlawful coercion tactics in the absence of a lawyer.