Turkey fined for ill-treatment by PM’s bodyguards
Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan (C). DHA photoThe European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) today fined Turkey 12,000 euros in a case regarding the mistreatment of a citizen by a bodyguard of Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.
The application, filed by Necati Yılmaz, related to injuries sustained by the applicant at the hands of the bodyguards for having allegedly publicly insulted the Prime Minister at a road opening ceremony on April 7, 2007.
“The Court found that the authorities used disproportionate force in the course of a normal arrest and that the criminal investigation carried out to date had led to the bodyguards presumed to be responsible for the violence being granted virtual impunity,” the ECHR said in a written statement.
According to the application, Yılmaz, who has 80 percent impaired vision, attended a ceremony in 2007 where Erdoğan was inaugurating a new road. He was then arrested for publicly insulting the prime minister.
After being released the following day, Yılmaz complained that he had been punched in the face during his arrest. A medical examination confirmed that the applicant’s right ear had been injured. Criminal proceedings brought against Yılmaz for publicly insulting the Prime Minister are still pending.
On April 11, 2007 Yılmaz lodged a complaint for ill-treatment, alleging that he had been punched by the prime minister’s bodyguards in the car on the way to the police station.
“The Court observed that on April 7, 2007, according to the police report drawn up at the time, the applicant was arrested by the Prime Minister’s bodyguards. Nothing indicated that Mr. Yılmaz had behaved in such a way that the use of force was necessary,” the Court said in its ruling.
“The Court considered that the way the Prime Minister’s bodyguards had treated Mr Yilmaz at the time of his arrest went well beyond the requirements of a normal arrest. There had therefore been a violation of Article 3 on grounds of ill-treatment,” the ruling continued.
The Court noted that an investigation had been opened when Yılmaz lodged a complaint and had been ongoing for more than five years without any progress. It stated that “in such circumstances a prompt response by the authorities in investigating allegations of ill-treatment was essential in maintaining public confidence in the rule of law and preventing any appearance of tolerance of unlawful acts.”