ECHR rules that pre-trial detention of 13-year-old in Turkey violates rights convention
The European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) has ruled that the pre-trial detention of a 13-year-old boy violated the European Convention of Human Rights and has ordered Turkey to pay the applicant compensation, the court announced on Feb. 27.
Agit Demir, 13 at the time, was placed in pre-trial detention in 2010 in the southeastern province of Şırnak for “participating in a demonstration organized in December 2009 to protest against the conditions of detention of Abdullah Öcalan,” the imprisoned leader of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), who is serving life sentence in İmralı prison, and “for throwing stones at the security forces during the demonstration.”
He was later released and lodged a complaint with the ECHR.
The court said the pre-trial detention of a minor violated several articles in the convention, including right to liberty and security, and freedom of assembly and association.
“Placing a minor in pre-trial detention should only be a last resort and brought about only if a judicial supervision measure had proved ineffective or had not been complied with,” the court said in its ruling.
The court also objected to the accusation of disseminating terrorist propaganda.
“Waving a portrait of Abdullah Öcalan at a demonstration could not be regarded as a form of expression calling for the use of violence, armed resistance or uprising. Likewise, it did not constitute hate speech,” the court ruled.
The court added that the domestic courts should have taken sufficient account of Demir’s young age, ordering Turkey to pay 7,500 euros in respect of non-pecuniary damage and 3,000 euros in respect of costs and expenses to the applicant.