Turkey fined for disappearance of man under alleged custody
REUTERS PhotoThe European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) has fined Turkey 20,000 euros for its "ineffective investigation" into the disappearance of Mustafa Saygı, who was stopped and apprehended by soldiers while on his way home in 1994 in the southeastern province of Şanlıurfa, never to be seen again.
Dursun Saygı complained to the ECHR that the national authorities had failed to carry out an effective investigation into the disappearance of her husband, Mustafa Saygı.
Her husband has not been seen since June 3, 1994, when, while traveling home on his motorbike, he was seen being stopped and apprehended by soldiers.
The court concluded that Turkey was to pay 20,000 euros for non-pecuniary damage for the violation of Article 2 in terms of the investigation.
Dursun Saygı alleged the investigation into her husband’s disappearance had been ineffective, especially after new evidence was discovered in 2009.
Mustafa Saygı’s mother complained to the authorities six days after the disappearance and, receiving no reply, then submitted a petition to the prosecuting authorities in March 2005.
Between 2005 and 2006, a detailed investigation was carried out. The prosecutor concluded that Mustafa Saygı, last seen by a number of civilian eyewitnesses near the village of Yoğurtçu outside a public building being used by the military as a temporary base, had been unlawfully detained by soldiers. However, as the statute of limitations for false imprisonment had expired, the prosecutor could not indict the military personnel responsible. The applicant lodged an objection, but this was dismissed by the courts in November 2006.
In December 2009, a new investigation was launched when bones and the remains of a motorbike were discovered near Yoğurtçu. In April 2010, the prosecuting authorities decided, however, to close the investigation on the basis that, following a forensic examination, the bones were not human but animal bones. The authorities also based their conclusions on a report prepared by the military denying that any inquiries had been made about Mustafa Saygı’s disappearance or that a military base had been established in Yoğurtçu in 1994. Dursun Saygı lodged an objection, but this was dismissed by the courts in June 2010.