Constitutional Court abrogates provision allowing detentions up to 10 years for terror suspects
Oya Armutçu ANKARA - Hürriyet
The head of the Constitutional Court Haşim Kılıç said had promised to act in harmony with the ECHR, whose decisions will set a legal precedent.The Turkish Constitutional Court abrogated July 4 an article of the Turkish Penal Code allowing up to 10 years of detention for suspects prosecuted on terror charges, two days after a landmark ruling on the "unconstitutionality" of lengthy detentions.
The court ruled that the legal provision, which had been included in the third judicial reform package and enacted after its adoption by the Turkish Parliament, doubling the detention periods stipulated in the penal code for charges of spying and attacking "state security, constitutional order, national defense and state secrets" was found unconstitutional.
Basing its decision on the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) and the European Convention on Human Rights, Turkey's top court has ruled that the provision was "excessive."
The court has given the government one year starting from the publication of the decision on the Official Gazette to change the provision. With its decision, the Constitutional Court is sending the government a message that it should determine a "fair period of time based on both the ECHR and the European Convention on Human Rights."
Possibility for release of suspects
The decision will be published as soon as possible in the Official Gazette and will enter into force a year after its publication. The government has one year to prepare a new legal provision in light of the ECHR rulings. The decision will also enable courts to rule for the release of suspects who have not yet received a sentence in cases such as the Ergenekon coup trial or the Kurdistan Communities Union (KCK) trial.
The main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP) had consulted the Constitutional Court on the matter.
Turkey’s top court had also accepted four individual applications on lengthy detentions July 2. The court will harmonize Turkish law with verdicts from the ECHR, the head of the Constitutional Court Haşim Kılıç said.