Euro court fines Turkey over lack of investigation in army suicide case
STRASBOURGThe European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) has ordered Turkey to pay compensation to a woman from the Central Anatolian province of Eskişehir who filed a complaint over her husband’s suicide in the army.
Four other rulings concerning Turkey were also issued by the ECHR on Sept. 6, of which two regarded complaints on detention and the other two concerned deaths during police operations.
The court ordered Turkey to pay a total of 14,330 euros to an asylum seeker, Bakhtiyor Alimov, over degrading treatment in his detention, which lasted for 104 days.
The court also ordered Turkey to pay a total of 12,700 euros to Ramazan Erkenov over his unlawful detention at the Gaziantep Foreigners’ Removal Centre in Turkey for 18 months.
Turkey will also pay compensation to Esma Altın and İsmail Kılıç, whose brothers were killed during a police operation against the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) in the southeastern province of Diyarbakır.
Finally, the ECHR also ordered Turkey to pay compensation to Döndü Günel, whose son was killed by the gendarmerie during an operation against the outlawed Maoist Communist Party (MKP).
In the suicide case, the court sentenced Turkey due to the lack of an investigation into the death of Ahmet Doğan, upon an application by his wife, Yasemin Doğan.
Ahmet Doğan’s colleagues heard a gunshot and found him seated in his office with a serious injury on Nov. 12, 2003. He was taken to hospital, where he died of his injuries two days later. An investigation was immediately launched regarding the incident.
It emerged from the resultant evidence that Ahmet Doğan had had problems with a lieutenant, identified only by the initials as İ.A., who had been the subject of an administrative inquiry into irregularities concerning furlough for conscripts, which he had allegedly granted in return for certain favors.
According to Yasemin Doğan, her husband had feared that he would be blamed by the commission of inquiry for the acts committed by İ.A. Before his suicide, Ahmet Doğan had also allegedly handed a parcel to a conscript, informing him that it contained papers intended to expose İ.A., but the papers were not found in the parcel in question.
An administrative enquiry established that İ.A had exerted pressure on Doğan, threatening him and insulting him in full view of other staff.
After the dismissals of the complaints she filed in Turkey against İ.A. over the causal link between her husband’s death and the lieutenant’s conduct, she complained about her husband’s suicide to the ECHR on the grounds that it had been the result of his working conditions. She also criticized the lack of an effective criminal investigation.
The court found Turkey guilty for failing to follow due process but declared that it had not violated the right to life. It also fined Turkey a total of 22,000 euros to Doğan.