ECHR fines Turkey for violating right to life
STRASBOURGThe European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) has found Turkey guilty of violating the right to life of a local politician who was shot dead outside of a café in the Yüreğir district of southern Adana province some 22 years ago. Turkey is set to pay 20,000 euros in non-pecuniary damages to the victim’s wife, in addition to 3,000 euros to cover the family’s costs and expenses.
The victim, Sefer Cerf, was a local politician for the now-defunct People’s Democracy Party (HADEP) when he was shot and killed outside of a café in Yüreğir on Oct. 3, 1994.
While the police concluded a crime scene investigation and launched a probe into Cerf’s murder, his family retained suspicions that Cerf was killed because of his political affiliations.
Seven years after Cerf’s assassination, in January 2000, police carried out a number of operations against outlawed the militant group Hizbullah and detained a man, identified only by his initials, M.D., who was later charged with the politician’s murder.
Four other suspected members of Hizbullah, along with M.D., faced criminal proceedings throughout 2000 over the murder of Serf and for carrying out illegal actions on behalf of the notorious terror organization.
All suspects were convicted between 2009 and 2013, sentenced to five and a half years to life imprisonment.
Nonetheless, Cerf’s wife, Yaşar Cerf, said the convicts’ confessions were dubious, as four retracted their statements saying they had been extracted under torture, and argued that her husband was killed “either by the security services or by Hizbullah aided by the authorities.” The ensuing investigation was ineffective, she claimed.
Yaşar Cerf also added that the conditions surrounding her husband’s murder were suspicious as anti-terror police or ordinary police officers had not been patrolling the area, an unusual thing at that time. Cerf said her daughter and herself were also threatened by the police following her husband’s killing.
Evaluating Cerf’s claims, the ECHR ruled that Turkey has violated Sefer Cerf’s right to life and failed to lead an effective investigation into his murder.
With the decision, Turkey is set to pay a total 23,000 euros to Yaşar Cerf in non-pecuniary damages and costs and expenses.
Hizbullah, a Turkey-based fundamentalist Islamic terrorist group, hit headlines in 2000, when police found some 70 bodies of its alleged victims in mass graves across the country. Active mostly in southeastern Turkey, the group is listed by Ankara as a terrorist organization that seeks to replace the country’s secular system with a hardline Islamic regime.