European court criticizes Turkey over excessive police force

European court criticizes Turkey over excessive police force

ISTANBUL – Hürriyet Daily News
European court criticizes Turkey over excessive police force

Istanbul police have been lashed out at for their gas use in Gezi protests. DAILY NEWS photo / Selahattin SÖNMEZ

Turkey needs to adopt new measures to prevent the police from using disproportionate violence and unnecessary and excessive tear gas during peaceful demonstrations, the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) said yesterday in a verdict regarding a case on police violence in 2005.

In its verdict on the “Nergiz İzci versus Turkey” case, the ECHR said it had found in over 40 of its judgments against Turkey that the heavy-handed intervention of law enforcement officials in demonstrations or the launching of criminal proceedings against applicants for participating in peaceful demonstrations violated Articles 3 and 11 of the convention.

Article 3 regulates the prohibition of inhuman or degrading treatment while mandating an effective investigation; Article 11, meanwhile, concerns freedom of assembly.

The ECHR also noted that a common feature in the cases was the authorities’ failure to show a certain degree of tolerance toward peaceful gatherings and, in some cases, the massive use of physical force, including tear gas, by law enforcement personnel.

Turkish police have frequently attracted criticism in recent weeks for their improper use of tear gas during the Gezi Park protests. Police are supposed to fire gas canisters at 45 degrees, but frequently shoot protesters at head height, resulting in severe injuries or even death.