ECHR finds Turkey guilty over lengthy detention
STRASBOURGThe European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) has found Turkey guilty in another case about the length of a pre-trial detention.
The ECHR ruled that Turkey breached both the right to liberty and security and the right to a fair trial.
Ziya and Mehmet Ergezen, a father and a son, were detained in 2005 after several kilos of explosives were seized in a search at their home. The following year they were sentenced to ten years’ imprisonment for membership of an illegal organization (the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party, or PKK) and possession of explosives.
After the judgment was quashed in June 2007, the court ordered for the applicants to be held in pre-trial detention until November 2007, when it upheld their conviction on the same terms.
In February 2009 the Court of Cassation again quashed the judgment of the Assize Court, which ordered the applicants to be kept in pre-trial detention, until September 2010, when Ziya Ergezen was released on the grounds that he was suffering from cancer and unlikely to survive. Ziya Ergezen died later that year.
The following month, the criminal proceedings against him were interrupted on grounds of his death and his son was sentenced to 10 years’ imprisonment. Taking account of the length of the latter’s pre-trial detention, the Assize Court released him.
An appeal against that judgment was dismissed by the Court of Cassation in December 2010.
In the end, the ECHR ruled that Turkey must pay 4,000 euros to Mehmet Ergezen and 4,300 euros jointly to the heirs of Ziya Ergezen.