ECHR fines Turkey over rights violation during union protest

ECHR fines Turkey over rights violation during union protest

ECHR fines Turkey over rights violation during union protest The European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) has fined Turkey over 20,000 euros in non-pecuniary damages in a case opened by teachers’ union Eğitim-Sen and six of its members over a 2005 demonstration that was attacked by police.

Applying to the court on complaints of “breach of freedom to hold a demonstration,” “ill-treatment that the security forces had inflicted,” and authorities’ lack of action in opening a criminal investigation regarding a demonstration that was attacked with high-pressure water and teargas, applicants E. Barikan, M. Arda, A. Nesne, B. Bayır, B. Kutlu and E. Cebeci were found rightful and awarded 20,800 euros in total for non-pecuniary damages and 4,100 euros for costs and expenses. 

According to the judgment from the ECHR, Eğitim-Sen called its members to stage a demonstration in Ankara in November 2005 even though the province’s governor refused to grant permission for the rally. The governor reportedly informed the gendarmerie about the illegal demonstration, requesting security measures. During the demonstration, a group of demonstrators were blocked and subjected to high-pressure water and teargas by police, who also charged at the teachers with an armored vehicle.

Following the incident, the union filed a criminal complaint against the governor and the security forces, but the Interior Ministry refused to authorize a prosecution, a decision which was also upheld by the Supreme Administrative Court. 

Evaluating the application from Eğitim-Sen and the six applicants, the ECHR found the applicants rightful in their complaints.

Meanwhile, in another ruling, the ECHR ruled in favor of a Turkish man in his appeal over violations of rights related to his detention by a military tribunal that accused him of involvement in fraud and corruption in a public procurement in 2004. 

Appealing to the court, Ali Osman Özmen claimed that the military tribunal had no jurisdiction to try him as he was a civilian and therefore requested his release. Evaluating Özmen’s case, the court ruled that “right to be brought promptly before a judge,” “the right to a trial within a reasonable time or to be released pending trial” and “the right to have the lawfulness of detention speedily examined by a court” were breached.