Euro court fines Turkey for violating right to life

Euro court fines Turkey for violating right to life

ISTANBUL - Hürriyet Daily News
Euro court fines Turkey for violating right to life

Some 30 prisoners and two soldiers were killed when security forces stormed -prisons in December, 2000, in the ‘Return to Life’ operation. Hürriyet photo

The European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) has ordered the payment of 69,000 euros to four victims of the operation “Return to Life” that took place in Turkish prisons in 2000.

In rulings made public yesterday, the court ordered Turkey to pay 15,000 euros as non-pecuniary damage each to applicants Erol Arıkan, Dinçer Otluçimen and Turhan Tarakcı, and 20,000 euros to Hacer Arıkan, who were all in Bayrampaşa Prison during the operation. Turkey was also ordered to pay 4,000 euros to the four applicants jointly for costs and expenses.

The court ruled that the case “Return to Life” involved violation of Article 2 of the European Convention on Human Rights regarding the right to life.

Dozens of inmates died in a hunger strike in 2000 in protest against the moving of inmates from dormitories to cells. Some 30 prisoners and two soldiers were also killed when security forces stormed jails in December of that year in an operation known as “Return to Life,” which ended the protest on Dec. 19, 2000.

“The applicants complained about the manner in which the authorities had prepared and conducted the operation and alleged that disproportionate force had been used. They also accused the State of having failed in its obligation to protect the lives of persons placed under its control,” the court’s ruling read.

In another case regarding the violation of the right to freedom of expression, the ex-owner of daily Evrensel, Ahmet Sami Belek, was awarded 10,000 euros. The court ruled that Turkey violated Belek’s right to freedom of expression by jailing him three times for allegedly “making propaganda for the terrorist organization the Kurdistan Workers’ Party [PKK].”

“Belek complained that he had been convicted on three occasions under the Anti-Terrorism Act – which made it an offence to publish declarations or leaflets emanating from terrorist organizations – for having published articles containing statements by members of the illegal armed organization the PKK, including its president, Mr. Abdullah Öcalan,” the ruling read.